Soldiers' Emotional Return Home

Three soldiers serving in Afghanistan talk about the hardships of being away from family.
3:00 | 11/28/13

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Transcript for Soldiers' Emotional Return Home
Test Text1 plain Good evening. On this thanksgiving eve. You will meet people who have powerful roonz easons to be thankful. We'll travel from the front line of afghanistan to emotional reunions to families back home. Part of an initiative, launched by abc and walt disney to celebrate the people who serve this country. It's called "home for the holidays" and here is abc's josh elliott. Reporter: When your job is CLEARING IUEDs FROM AFGHANISTAN'S Roads, it is not a safe one. Seeing terrain from all angles. You have to be thinking all the time. Reporter: This might be the most dangerous moment of them all. In a couple days, captain lotts is due to return home to his wife and daughter he never met. Do you think about the danger every day. I've been in afghanistan. Anywhere you go in afghanistan. There are people trying to kill you. Even on the day you are suppose to go home. Reporter: They are counting down the hours until they too leave afghanistan. But they're not out yet either. It hits home. Saw the body of a captain. And the guy could have been me. Reporter: What is it look to have this be a normal way of life. Right outside the door. Your protection. You have got to trust it. They're due to be reunited with their families in time for thanksgiving. But right now that has to be the furthest thing from their mind. It's hard. I can't let it get to me. Because we can't have our mind set back home. You can't bring them on the mission with you. Because it will just mess your whole day up. Does she feel the fear? I told her I am coming home. That's what she hold on to. What I hold on to. But if it comes done to wn to it. My soldiers will come home. How often do you fear for your safety? I still assume something happens every day. Trying not to barack threak their husband's concentration in the final hours. I quit telling him. It kind of bums him out. He just feels like -- he is -- Reporter: Do you ever feel that running afoul of a sense of duty to your family. Keep that in mind. The job asks you inevitably to do something that sacrifices for your family. Reporter: Major stewart knows something, this deployment is his first since having children. They both understand they're both adults. We walk into it knowing. Reporter: His wife jennifer runs a tight ship and does her best and a since of normalcy for the two children. 6-year-old izzy and 2-year-old patrick, and making sure the ritual of story time with daddy stay intact. Even if it means prerecording on their ipad. Yesterday, two day, and tomorrow, too. Reporter: What is it like when daddy is not here? Not fun. Reporter: Is it emotional for you? Perhaps the most poignant time for me is at night, specifically at bedtime. And going to bed alone, when i know that I have married someone to kind of make sure that doesn't happen is it hardest. Reporter: Jesse fuller is a new mom adjusting to life without her husband michael. She gave birth to her son brantley last december just two weeks before specialist fuller was on his way to afghanistan. Britney lotts is a new mom, and was 15 weeks pregnant with daughter finley when her husband deployed. Knowing you would not be there for the birth. What is that like? You have the birth of your child once. America says I need to be over here. So -- they wouldn't call it service if it was easy. Reporter: We decided to bring a small piece of home to the front lines. Hi, sweetheart. We are so excited to get you home. Say hi. The first glimpse of a daughter he has yet to meet. Today is major mike stewart's 37th birthday. I brought a gift from daughter izzie. Hi, daddy. I love you. I miss you! That was awesome. Thank you. Reporter: Big blue eyes. Huge. Reporter: Want to s hi, daddy. I want to take your phone and eat it. Just a minute. Reporter: What is that moment going to be look when you go home again? It will be blissful. I will probably cry a little bit. I think seeing both of the kids, and jen together, I mean that's, that's what I am living for right now. Pretty sure I will be tunnel vision. Like everything is black around me. I am going to see her and my son. Reporter: As the soldiers make their plans to return as part of the u.S. Military draw down, they shutter their base for a final time. And start their long journey home. Reporter: They wait to greet their soldiers as three anxious wives get ready for the reunion they have been waiting for in nine months. Yeah. I am more excited about him coming home than it was about the day we got married. One of the greatest moments. Finally -- after almost a year -- counting down day after day. The excitement of the homecoming outweighed perhaps by the anticipation. Of their loved ones finally returning home. For specialist fuller it is the tunnel vision he predicted. The search as if in slow motion until -- success. For all they knew, captain lott and britney may have been the only two in that whole entire room. Reporter: Has a single senten sentence, this is my daddy, ever soun sounded so good. What do you think, 275 days later? I love seeing him with her. Greatest thing ever. Reporter: How does she feel? Felt pretty light. Reporter: Yeah. New. Reporter: Yeah. Fragile. For these military families on this thanksgiving eve, there is much to be done. Food to be made. But mostly -- there are thanks to be given that their soldiers made it back for the holidays. Times to relax, time to spend family you haven't seen forever. To have him back probably makes this trip the best thing in a long time. Reporter: Finally, made it back home. For "nightline," I'm josh elliott, in fort drum, new york.

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