They were part of the 456th ground and air operations helping facilitate the troop surge. Now their assignment is to be mom or dad.
It has been a year and a half since three-year-old Kaimay Olson has gotten to hug and kiss her mother. Now the moment is just seconds away.
“There she is, thank you Jesus."
Specialist Kendra Olson and the rest of the 456th hugged and kissed the loved ones they left in the Heartland when they went on their tour of duty in Afghanistan but that all seems like a distant memory.
And the soldiers have been able to keep in contact with those most important to them.
Spc. Kendra Olson says, "Thanks to Skype we've been able to even see each other so it has been great to... she knows who I am."
Signs and ribbons greeted the soldiers when they arrived at the guard center. Inside dignitaries recounted their accomplishments and praised the sacrifice.
But the soldiers’ families gave of themselves too; there would be no Specialist Kendra Olson without grandma Andi's help. Grandma cared for Kaimay during the deployment.
Andi Dorn says, "It has been a challenge but very joyful we've learned a lot in the last year and a half we've had her about 18 months."
And would do it again if needed but for the foreseeable future Kaimay and her mother won't be spending much time apart.
Kaimay's mother and grandmother are going to "go slow" with the little girl's transition. They will gradually move her and all of her things into mom's house.
They say the little girl has gone through so much change in her life that they want this transition to be a gradual one and controlled by how Kaimay feels.