Fort Riley Soldier Makes Surprise Return Home

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FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) - Hundreds were on hand this afternoon at Fort Riley to welcome back friends and loved ones as soldiers of the First Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade returned home.

A recent drawback on troops has made redeployments a common theme, but returning home on a Friday afternoon allowed for an even more special occasion.

"It’s really hard to describe just because you wait for a really long time," said Katie Palenzuela. "You worry, and just about everything that can go wrong does when they’re away, but just being able to get your hands on them again and know that they’re safe makes it worth it."

It was an afternoon full of surprises, but the day wasn’t over until Palenzuela stepped back into his home for a very warm welcome.

"I was gone about nine months and it feels good to be around the fellahs again," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rob Palenzuela.

More redeployment ceremonies are expected to take place at Fort Riley throughout the week.