No one to hug you when you return from Iraq.
The war- and travel-weary soldiers filed off the chartered bus to the joyful screams of wives and open-armed children running for hugs a year gone missing.
Company A, 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion was finally home from Iraq.
But for many of the 68 soldiers who returned Friday to Heidelberg, Germany, home is still a long way away.
“Will you hold my hand,” whispered a sergeant in Pfc. Cody Sheldon’s ear as Alpha’s commander stood before the troops for one last formation with tearful flag-waving wives and children standing on the sidelines.
“It’s hard,” said Sheldon, a 19-year-old single soldier from Baltimore, as he lugged his gear from the bus up into his barracks. “You knew there were going to be all those families here, but it kind of leaves you wishing you were already home with your own family.”