Soldiers from the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard based in Bryan have returned home from Iraq. One soldier returned home to a pleasant surprise.
We first meet Mark and Barbara Ybarra last August, when Mark learned he was being deployed to Iraq.
Now he's back after a year of duty and working on catching up with his wife Barbara and son Charlie.
" It hasn't really set in yet. I'm still trying to find my routine and get the feel of home of course a lot has changed," said Mark.
It was a surprise when Mark's unit learned they would get to come home earlier than expected, but perhaps even a bigger surprise was the one Barbara had waiting for Mark when he returned.
" He was home on leave in August and shortly after he left I found out I was pregnant and we were so thrilled. It's so nice to have him home and be apart of that," said Barbara.
" We were not expecting to be home until February and so being back this early is truly a blessing," said Mark.
Mark hasn't gotten much rest since he's returned home. The family has been shopping for a new car. Mark is working on returning to his job with College Station's school district and resuming his classes at Texas A&M.
But a busy schedule was something Mark got use to in Iraq.
" It was busy over there. I got use to working seven days a week, a minimum of 13 to 15 hour days. Non-stop planning missions," said Mark.
Barbara says having Mark home for the holidays is the best present her son could have received.
" The most important thing is that he's here for our son Charlie and we get to spend another Christmas together," said Barbara.
The community is invited to greet and welcome home the soldiers Friday along Texas Avenue at noon. The troops will be traveling in trucks from 2818 in College Station to Coulter Street in Bryan.
There is no designated parking for the event and no streets will be blocked off or closed. Traffic will still be allowed to flow on Texas Avenue.