FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It was a site for sore eyes as Specialist E-4 Brandon Screeton, returning from his second tour of duty in Iraq, meets his six month old son for the first time.
"I didn't get any sleep last night. I was up all night waiting for this," said Gloria Sewell, Screeton's mother.
Sewell wasn't alone in her anticipation. More than a dozen friends and family members filled the Fort Wayne International Airport terminal Tuesday. They group had gathered to surprise Screeton, an E-4 Specialist returning from his second tour in Iraq.
A broad smile crossed the soldier's face as he walked into the terminal and heard the cheers. He quickly picked up his sons and kissed his wife.
"Last time it was just her and the kids, so yeah, I was really surprised," said Screeton.
And there's another big change since the last time his wife brought their two sons, Alex and John Riley, to welcome Dad home. This time, for the first time, Screeton met his third son, Brett, who is now six months old.
"It was even more special this time, because I hadn't seen him," smiled Screeton. "It was tough not being there for the birth." Screeton's wife was eight months pregnant the last time he was deployed.
But being in the military is somewhat of a family tradition. Today, Screeton's mother carried a picture of Screeton's grandfather with her. He passed away last year, but was still a part of Tuesday's celebration.
"His grandson followed in his footsteps, and he was very proud. He may not be here with us today, but he's here in spirit," said Sewell.
Unfortunately, Screeton's stay at home will be a short one. In 15 days he will return to Iraq for another three month tour before joining his wife and kids back at Fort Hood in Texas. But Screeton knows he'll remain in the thoughts and prayers of many people back in the U.S.
"I just want to say thank you for all your support," he said. "It really means a lot."
"I just hope that everybody will pray for all the soldiers over there," his mother added. "Pray that everybody is lucky enough, like my son, to come home safely."
Until his third trip to Iraq, Screeton says he'll be spending time with family, hoping the moments don't pass too quickly.
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