On Jan. 27, Emily Campbell married Sgt. Jeffrey Campbell.
In March, the sergeant deployed to Afghanistan.
On April 15, he survived an attack that left another Fort Carson soldier dead.
Seven months after the explosion, Sgt. Campbell stood at attention on U.S. soil while showing a slight grin.
Directly across a Fort Carson gymnasium, his wife clutched a sign reading “Come Kiss Your Girl” while wiping away tears.
Knowing she’d cry, she brought six packages of tissues.
“I get to touch him and feel him and see that he’s OK,” Emily Campbell said.
As businesses closed and many children stayed home from school for Veterans Day, Sgt. Campbell and about 250 other Fort Carson soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team returned home Monday to a roar of applause.
Similar homecoming ceremonies for the 4th Brigade are expected through December. The brigade spent nine months in eastern Afghanistan managing a section along the Pakistan border that included 3 million Afghans, Fort Carson officials said.
It was the same area that the “Warrior” brigade oversaw from spring 2009 through spring 2010.
During that earlier deployment, Sgt. Campbell and Emily kept in touch as friends, she said. When he came back, they quickly became a couple, then husband and wife.
“Nobody else compared to him,” she said. “He’s just, he’s awesome. He’s the best guy ever.”
An explosion April 15 quickly tested their first deployment together.
The blast left Sgt. Campbell with a head injury that still gives him headaches, Emily Campbell said.
That attack killed Staff Sgt. David Nowaczyk from the 2nd Battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment, she said.
On Monday, Sgt. Campbell paused for a moment before shaking his head and saying he didn’t want to talk about the attack or his injury.
He did, however, have a message for the city he returned to on Veterans Day.
“Be patient with us, because it takes us a while to get settled back in,” said Sgt. Campbell, of the brigade’s 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment.
Looking down, he smiled and he clutched his wife while leaving for their first meal together in months — one held at On The Border restaurant, a tradition after deployments.
His flight was timed perfectly, arriving one day before his 25th birthday.
As they left the ceremony, nearly â€¨30 others planned to join them for a celebration.