Solider returns home and meets daughter

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PHOENIX – Not one, not two, not even three soldiers, but 36 of them came home Wednesday after a year-long deployment in Afghanistan.

“Somewhat stressful in a way,” commented Sgt. Whaley Wong. “But overall we came back safe, fortunately.”

Specialist Will Gnagi came home to a new life and a pregnant wife.

“I moved us, I graduated from NAU, got a full-time job down here, took care of all the animals and so it’s been a tough year, yup, we’re engaged and expecting. I’m excited about that,” said Bethany Cross.

These soldiers are part of the 1-158th infantry of the Arizona Army National Guard. They spent the past 12 months doing combat patrols throughout Farah Province.

“We go out every day expecting the worst. Fortunately I’m with a bunch of good guys who are on their “A” game all the time,” said Sgt. Wong.

One guy who had two very special girls waiting for him is Jenna Yazzie’s husband Matt. Sitting on Jenna’s lap is their 4-week-old daughter, Reighlyn. Matt had never seen or held her until Wednesday.

“She looks exactly like me,” said Spc. Yazzie.

For their work overseas, this platoon was awarded eight Bronze Star Medals and 33 Army Commendation Medals.