Soldier returns from Afghanistan to meet newborn son - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Soldier returns from Afghanistan to meet newborn son

Maason, Jessi and Baby Jason. Maason, Jessi and Baby Jason.

It was a memorable Sunday for members of the South Carolina National Guard.

After nine months deployed overseas, the guard's 124th engineering company returned home to a big homecoming in West Columbia.

For the servicemen and women, it was a time to reunite with their families and in some cases meet new ones.

It wasn't long after being deployed, Army Specialist Maason Polite got quite the surprise.

His wife was expecting their first child.

Now nine months later, Polite returned to a grand welcome.

Along a quiet air strip in West Columbia, many people waited eagerly.

Even a few who usually have bed times carried signs, ready to greet their loved ones.

"When he left I was crying hysterically and when he comes I'm pretty sure it's going to be the same thing," said Jessi Polite.

Nine months ago Jessi faced a whirlwind of emotion.

It wasn't long after her husband, Maason, left on a mission to Afghanistan.

That's when she found out more change was coming.

The two of them were going to have a baby boy.

"Being that I was pregnant through the whole deployment, you know a lot of emotion, a lot of sadness," Jessi said.

Just last month, the baby arrived.

"I've just been waiting, so excited for him more so," said James Gould, Jessi's father. "I just can't wait for him to see his little baby for the first time."

It was a wait they wouldn't face alone.

"I am elated," said Miranda Lemon. "Excited. You have no idea. God Bless America and thank God their home."

Hundreds would pack a small hanger at Eagle Aviation to welcome home the 124th.

And after 1 a.m., the moment to hug their loved ones finally came.

"Oh it feels real good to be home," Maason said. "I couldn't think of anything better to be with my family."

And for the young soldier, perhaps the biggest joy: welcoming his son, Jason.

"It was like looking at me, you know," Maason said. "I was playing with him all morning and trying to get to know him. Hey, I'm your daddy! I know I missed about two weeks but I'm going to make up for it."

While it was an emotional homecoming Sunday morning for the Polite's, the family has been through it before.

Jessi has also served in the military before she and Maason got married.

The proud father says he's now looking toward the future, hoping to pursue a career in nursing.

And of course, school his new son in the wide world of sports.

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