‘Best Christmas present’: Hawaii soldiers return home early from Middle East deployment

‘Best Christmas present’: Hawaii soldiers return home early from Middle East deployment

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a homecoming — just in time for Christmas.

After a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, 19 Schofield Barracks soldiers returned home Monday night to their wives, husbands and children.

Their original return date was Saturday, but leadership was able to get them home before Christmas.

“Just seeing the smiles on their faces makes everything worth it," said 1st Lt. Shenicquia Fulton, one of the returning soldiers.

"They know that everyone back home cares and they appreciate all the hard work that we were doing. So I think that makes everything worth it: Being away and sacrificing time away from family.”

Fulton couldn’t be happier to be home and she couldn’t be more proud of everything her team has accomplished.

Since March, the 259th Human Resources Company Postal Platoon has been supporting combat operations in the Middle East — doing a very important job.

“All the mail coming into Iraq came to us and we pushed it out to the APOs either through trucks or air pallets through flight," Fulton said.

“But whatever way we could get it out there and we started a new system that decreased the timeline from 14 days down to seven days."

The new system they created will be used in Afghanistan and allow more efficient communication between deployed service members and their families back home.

But on Christmas Eve, the mission wasn’t the focus. Family was.

“It was very lonely, but I am glad he is back," said Ivelisse Luciano, of her husband, William. "Best Christmas present he has ever given me.”

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