Spc. Joshua Vanburen on Tuesday held his 5-month-old son Ryan for the first time since May when the baby was born.
"I couldn't ask for anything better," the soldier said, while his wife, Danielle, stood by his side, her face beaming. "It's a great feeling to come home from that. It's real exciting."
Vanburen was one of a little more than 500 troops from the 92nd Engineer Combat Battalion who have redeployed to Fort Stewart from Iraq this week. He was among the first wave welcomed home Tuesday during a ceremony on Cottrell Field.
As they were deploying, some 600 troops of the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team were readying to deploy to Iraq for 15 months in the global war on terror. Their planes started leaving Wednesday night.
Vanburen, who had deployed with the 92nd's B Company this past October, was able to be home for Ryan's birth on May 23.
While having her husband home for the birth had been nice, Danielle Vanburen said his absence during her pregnancy and Ryan's first months was tough.
"It was hard. It was emotional. It was different. I wish he could have been here. But at least he's not missing too much of his (Ryan life now," she said.
Although Joshua Vanburen was in Iraq, the young couple has been able to stay in touch.
"We get on Yahoo messenger a lot and occasionally, when the computers worked, we'd be on web cam," she said
While in Iraq, the 92nd provided support to the 411th Engineer Brigade, the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne), and Task Force Sapper, according to Fort Stewart's Public Affairs Office.
The soldiers built forward operating bases, performed combat construction and executed tactical missions. The unit completed more than 600 combat missions in its third deployment to Iraq. In total, the unit has deployed four times in support of the Global War on Terror.
Engineer units are among the most frequently deployed units in the Army.
The redeployment was completed Wednesday.