Black Hawk Pilot Returns Home Early For Anniversary

4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division soldiers return to Fort Riley on Valentine's Day

4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division soldiers return to Fort Riley on Valentine's Day

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - An early return home from deployment has given a Manhattan couple a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

A Black Hawk pilot stationed at Fort Riley has returned home as part of the ongoing draw down of soldiers in Afghanistan. However, for First Lieutenant Daniel Gruenstern being at home hasn’t changed the duties of being pilot.

"The life of a Black Hawk pilot, it doesn’t change," Gruenstern said. "You’re always a student. It’s continuous learning. You still have to go home and study, and so I think I didn’t get out of that, but it’s a big requirement. You continuously have to study because if you don’t stay with it that knowledge is lost."

Originally planning to be over seas for nine months, Daniel returned home after four, which means he and his wife Annette will be home for the holidays and another very special occasion. Daniel and Annette will celebrate their sixth anniversary together after first meeting in the ROTC program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

While the unexpected early arrival has the couple excited about the days ahead, Daniel is doing his best to keep his fellow soldiers in mind.

"I still think about the rest of my guys back in Afghanistan and with that they could be home too," Gruenstern said. "I’m a little upset that they’re not and I’m here, but now that I’m home I’m very glad that I’m home and I look forward to just less time away."


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