Vets' Homecoming Is Sweet but Temporary

After 13 months in Afghanistan, 53 combat soldiers hit the tarmac, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky early this morning.

For some, this homecoming is something that they've experienced before. But for Cindy Ballagh and her six children, after 395 days, this is her first reunion and it feels sweet, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

"Some days are rough," Ballagh said. "I try to cry in the shower."

With every homecoming, somewhere on post there are other troops preparing for deployment.

Here at Fort Campbell, the next wave of soldiers heads out in January.

As many as 5,000 have already received their orders to head to Afghanistan. Another 9,500 this spring could be in the first round of President Obama's new Afghan strategy.

"There's a lot of hope," Col. Ronald Lewis said. "They're going in with the mindset, 'let's get it over, let's get it done' let's get U.S. forces on the ground and get it done.'"

Back home, Staff Sgt. James Ballagh is ready for a little rest and relaxation and spending the holidays with his family.

"We come back, spend time with our families, enjoy the time we have back home and be prepared to go back," he said.

Is it tough to know you have to go back?

"I volunteered for the job," soldier Michael Busch said. "It's part of my job ready to go back."

Tested and seasoned, members of the 101st Airborne have served longer than any other soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. And they know that they are not done yet.


  • Michelle Miller

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