Fort Lee homecoming for Quartermaster mortuary company

Posted at 12:17 AM, Nov 26, 2013

FORT LEE (WTVR) - Fort Lee. Monday evening. Another military homecoming ceremony, among thousands across the country in recent years.

This one in time for Thanksgiving.

And this company dealing with mortuary affairs – the ones who take care of those who didn’t make it.

“This is my third deployment, my third time coming home,” said 54th Quartermaster Company specialist Raymond August.

For some in the company, like August, it was old hat. And so it was for some in the crowd waiting to hug their necks and welcome them home. Some had done the big welcome home before. And more than a few have served overseas themselves and were waiting for their spouses or loved ones to return.

There were the usual running hugs and tears and babies lifted and kissed and proud handshakes and shoulder slaps from parents.

But there were a few of the soldiers who had no family or significant others to greet them.

Raymond August was one of them. His family lives overseas – he won’t see them for another year or so.

“I have family here,” he said. “My Army brothers and sisters here, waiting for me. So I still feel like I’m home.”

Specialist Brock from Baltimore said won’t see his family until later in the week.

He, too, counts his Army buddies as family.

And even though it was his first deployment and his first return, he enjoyed seeing  everyone else get a big welcome.

He said coming home to cheers, tears, waving flags and a small brass band helped him remember the important job they did:

“Bringing the soldiers home to their families.”

This one in time for Thanksgiving.

Fort Lee. The Army’s 54th Quartermaster Company, Mortuary Affairs.

The ones who take care of those who didn’t make it.

Husbands, wives, girlfriends, parents, all await their loved ones gone in Afghanistan for six months.

Some serve themselves,, know what it’s like to be waiting on the other side of the door.

But there are a few with no one waiting. Their families still far away.

For them, their family is already here.