Local Military Family Grateful for a Safe Return - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Military Family Grateful for a Safe Return

Sgt. Kuhio Chandler Sgt. Kuhio Chandler
Amber Chandler Amber Chandler
Kamalei Chandler Kamalei Chandler

Oct 7, 2007 4:26 PM

By Leland Kim

KAPOLEI (KHNL) ---  Kauai native Sergeant Kuhio Chandler and a thousand other Schofield-based soldiers returned from Iraq this week.  Saturday, he had a new mission, adjusting to life away from the war zone.  As strange as it seems, the peace and quiet of coming home takes some getting used to.

It's only been two days, but the Chandlers are picking things up, right where they left off.  They count their blessings because they know not everyone makes it back in one piece.

"Hi, baby," said Amber Chandler, when she saw a video image of her husband Sgt. Kuhio Chandler, back in November 22, 2006.

They were half a world apart, brought together by modern technological wonders of video-teleconferencing.

"I miss you, baby," said Amber Chandler to her husband, as she fought back tears.

He was in Iraq; she here in Hawaii with their son Kamalei.

Kuhio came back home this week, and Amber is in better spirits.

"Now that he's home, it's all happy," said Amber Chandler, smiling and beaming. "It's so exciting!  Super happy!"

Amber and Kamalei waited fifteen months for Kuhio's return, a long time for Kuhio to wait to hug his family.

"I can't explain it," said Sgt. Kuhio Chandler.  "It's one of those great feelings.  It's like you've never seen them before.  It was great."

Even though it's only been a couple of days, the Chandlers are adjusting back to their old life.

"I missed just having him around; his presence," said Amber Chandler. "I missed falling asleep next to him, talking story, coming home from work knowing that he was going to be there."

"There's not a day that went by that I didn't think about them," said Sgt. Chandler.  "Wish I was there with them and spending as much time as I could."

Amber knew Kuhio's was on a dangerous mission, but her faith and her family's support helped her through.

"It's something that I thought about but wasn't something that ate me up every day," she said.

The Chandlers know how lucky they are, and count their blessings.

"Everybody is really excited that he's back and he's back in the same condition that he left in, and that's what we're so thankful for," said Amber Chandler.

"Now that I'm home, I'm going to spend every last second I can with them," said Sgt. Chandler.

Gratitude from a family who's made a tremendous sacrifice.

Amber says she is proud of her husband and the other men and women fighting overseas.  More than 7,000 Hawaii-based soldiers will return in the next month.

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