New Mexico National Guardsmen reunite with families after nine-month deployment
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico National Guard soldiers returning from deployment were welcomed home to a Yellow Ribbon ceremony at the Las Cruces Armory Wednesday morning.
The 625 soldiers are mostly from the Southern New Mexico region and spent nine months on a peacekeeping mission on the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.
"It's such a great feeling to have him back and see the kids and have a great Christmas," said Jaime Lucero, after being reunited with her husband Patrick Lucero Tuesday.
Lucero deployed just days after his daughter Hailey Lucero was born.
"It's wonderful," Lucero said. "I get to meet my daughter, I finally get to meet her."
The Lucero's were hoping Hailey would be born before Patrick had to leave and miss the birth of their second child.
The young Alamogordo family tried everything imaginable in hopes of inducing labor, even driving to Cloudcroft hoping the higher elevation would help.
"It was very nerve racking just knowing we weren't ready and she wasn't ready," Jaime Lucero said.
Luckily, Hailey was born two weeks before Lucero left home.
"He comes home to her talking and she can wave she can say "dada" she says momma now," Jaime Lucero said. "He got to miss all that stuff."
Lucero said he's excited to get know his daughter and her playful personality.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who was in attendance, thanked all the soldiers and their families for the sacrifices they made while their loved ones were away.
"My son helped out a lot," Jaime Lucero said. "He's a great big brother, I couldn't ask for a better son."
The Lucero's son Tyler Lucero helped change diapers and helped feed his sister while his father was away.
Tyler said he really missed his dad and was very happy to see him.
"Now I can play with him and I can build a lego jet and we can play catch," said the young boy.
Jaime Lucero said her heart sank when she first saw her husband after nine months away and is extremely grateful to have her family together for the holidays.
"It's his daughter's first Christmas and that's the greatest thing he can give her is to be here," Jamie Lucero said.