Families rejoice in return of National Guard Battalion

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An emotional ceremony in Sandston Sunday as 75 National Guard troops return to Virginia.

The 276th Engineer Battalion has been serving in Afghanistan since February.

After being mobilized for active duty for the last year, these soldiers from Richmond, Petersburg, Powhatan, Hampton Roads and as far away as northern Virginia.

Overcome with emotion on a day soldiers and their families have been longing for, for almost a year.

Yowanda Brown was overwhelmed to see her husband return home.

"I'm feeling so blessed and I thank God for all the blessings he bestowed upon the soldiers and the United States and I'm just extremely overjoyed," she said.

A lot changed while Chief Warrant Officer Two Emmett Brown was risking his life, serving his country in Afghanistan, especially for 12-year-old Rayven.

"He missed my birthday twice," she said. "So I want him to be here for my birthday."

Emmett's eldest daughter, 23-year-old Whitney, is now looking forward to having her dad back home.

"It's just been my mother here for almost two years because he was gone almost a year before, so we'll be including him in everything," she said.

"I see I have a grandchild on the way, my oldest daughter is pregnant and engaged and getting ready to get married," said Emmett Brown. "My youngest baby, she's almost as tall as I am."

The 276th Engineer Battalion faced danger everyday for the last nine months, while patrolling routes and removing 15-thousand pounds of explosives as part of operation Enduring Freedom.

"Afghanistan has been in the news a lot lately and every time we hear it, our family went into prayer," said Yowanda

When they go back to Powhatan, it's time for a change of pace.

"I'm just going to sit back and probably enjoy a football game this evening," said Emmett.

Two other groups of soldiers from the battalion will also return to the Commonwealth in the coming weeks.

No exact dates for those homecoming ceremonies have been set.

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