ST. PETERSBUG, Fla. -
There was a special homecoming Saturday afternoon in St. Petersburg. Soldiers from the 320th Military Police Company returned home after serving over 10 months in Afghanistan.
74 soldiers were escorted by bus to the Max R. Stover Army Reserve Center where they were greeted with cheers, tears, and hugs from family and friends.
For many of the soldiers, it was their first time serving overseas. "It feels good in all honestly. Seeing water again after ten months of not seeing it, sunny skies, not clouded with dust, it's nice," First Lieutenant Paul Koziuk said. "It is what I expected it to be. It was tough but I had friends, my fellow soldiers they helped me through it."
For First Lieutenant Koziuk there were some things he missed while being deployed. "Probably a cold beer and my dog honestly, miss my dog. I miss my family a lot, I miss my friends a lot, they've always been a good support system for me," Koziuk said.
His mother Betty Koziuk is just happy her son made it back safely. "I tried to keep myself busy, constantly talking to him on the internet and sending him stuff. We keep in contact that's why I know he was always safe," Betty said.
For other soldiers like Staff Sergeant James Potts, it was their second time serving overseas. "It was easier and harder. It was harder because I have a family, but it was easier coming back because I kind of knew what to expect," Potts said.
Staff Sergeant Potts has a wife and two-year-old twins. He was thrilled to return home to see them, but was also touched by the support shown as they returned. "It's amazing. So excited, it's pretty much indescribable. All the people, all the support that came out here is awesome," Potts said.
Both First Lieutenant Koziuk and Staff Sergeant Potts have decided to make a career out of being in the military. So they know that another deployment may be just around the corner. For now, they say they are just going to enjoy their time home. "Sleep and play a round of golf," Koziuk said.