Wichita-based Army Reserve unit officially welcomed home

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WICHITA, Kan. -- When Lt. Mathue Johnson of Albuquerque arrived at Fort Dix, he was met with a big surprise.

"My wife surprised me at the airport. She gave me a big hug and a kiss. It was good to see her," Johnson said.

"I was just so happy he was home and got back home safely," his wife Amy said.

That reunion was back in March, but the memories easily flooded back as Johnson and the other 25 soldiers of Detachment 4, 368th Financial Management Support Unit were officially welcomed home Saturday morning in Wichita.

The unit was deployed for about a year to Kuwait. The soldiers, like Johnson, returned to their Wichita base in March. But they had to wait to have the official welcome home ceremony until all soldiers had completed the reintegration process.

But no one was complaining about the delay.

The unit commander, Capt. Camellia McKinney says her and the other soldiers are feeling glad to have had the opportunity after such a successful mission.

"We are truly blessed to be here to say 'thank you' to our family and our friends, and to our left and right soldiers who served with us," McKinney said.

The soldiers are feeling especially blessed knowing they'll spend this holiday season with their families.

When McKinney deployed in May 2012 her daughter was just five-months-old.

"We missed Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. Everything you can think of, we pretty much missed it," McKinney said. "But this year, we're getting to see it all."

This deployment was the second tour for Sgt. Chase Rosewicz of the Wichita area. While he says he loves serving in the military, he's happy to be home for the holidays.

"My daughter is glad that I'm back. (My wife and I) will make sure to get her quite a bit of presents and we'll be there to actually open them this time," Rosewicz said. "It'll be awesome."

For Lt. Johnson and his family, as they reminisce about their memories of his time overseas, they know they'll make new memories at home this holiday season.

"We did open presents over Facetime (last year) but this year we get to do it together," Lt. Johnson's wife, Amy, said.

"It's great to be back and enjoy the family time we missed," Johnson said.

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