On a rainy Valentine’s Day in Killeen, at the Fort Hood military post, hundreds of families gathered to see their loved ones back from a 9-month deployment.
One of those Army families was the Sambranos from Anna. Megan Sambrano, 24, and her three-year-old son Issac waited holding up a sign that said, “Over here daddy. I’ve waited 256 days for this hug!”
Little Issac couldn’t wait to see his father Roy Sambrano. He carried an American flag in each hand, waving the flags back and forth in anticipation.
He would have to wait a little longer though before the happy reunion. Megan said they waited outside in the chilly cold for about two hours before the buses filled with soldiers pulled up.
Megan and Roy Sambrano are both from Anna and high school sweethearts. They met during Megan’s freshman year back in 2007, and since then they’ve gotten married and started a family.
On the phone from Fort Hood, Megan described her husband’s first deployment with the U.S. Army.
“He left for boot camp on February 2012, and then that year he went on his first deployment,” she said.
In the background, Roy can be heard over the phone.
“June through December,” he said.
“He deployed June through December of that year,” Megan said clarifying. “That was when we were dating.”
For 6 months, Roy worked in Afghanistan that year. Last June, he was deployed to Afghanistan again. This time he would have to stay nine months.
Roy is a sergeant in the Grim Troop 3rd Calvary Regiment and served in Operation Resolute Support.
“We are supporting the Special Forces,” he said. “We supported them with missions that they needed.”
According to the U.S. Army’s website, the Resolute Support mission is to assists Afghan authorities in providing security and stability in the region while creating condition for redevelopment.
“The new NATO-led Resolute Support mission began on Jan. 1, 2015,” says the Army’s website. “Resolute Support builds on the achievements made by the now completed ISAF mission. Resolute Support officially and formally recognizes Afghan Security Forces’ growing capabilities and their assumption of full security responsibility for the future of Afghanistan.”
Roy described his job in Afghanistan as dangerous, and his wife said it wasn’t an easy deployment for him or his family.
“You know it was hard,” she said. “I mean like the milestones with our son and then we had to do the holidays without him.”
When Roy left their son, Issac, was just beginning to talk and by the time he got back he was almost able to put sentences together.
“Before I left he wasn’t even saying any words now he’s speaking clearly,” Roy said.
The family was able to see each other with the help of FaceTime, a video call service. Megan said about once a week they would video chat over the phone.
That let Issac know who his father is, she said.
While Roy was deployed Megan moved back home to Anna to be with her family and go to school.
Back at Fort Hood earlier this month, Megan, Issac, and Roy’s family waited outside in anticipation.
“He [Issac] was yelling for his dad and he was ready,” Megan said.
When the crowd started chanting “move that bus” the soldiers were finally revealed.
“Everyone was pretty much overjoyed,” Megan said. “I mean I couldn’t wait.”
Issac got that big hug from his father at the welcome home ceremony, and Megan got one too.
“It was good. Great,” Roy said. “Seeing my son and wife.”