Soldier Returns to Midland After Year-Long Deployment

U.S. Army Specialist Armstrong Mabwa came home to a cheering crowd Monday afternoon.
MIDLAND, TX ( -- U.S. Army Specialist Armstrong Mabwa came home to a cheering crowd Monday afternoon.

"Just excited, I feel like I'm gonna fall out right now. My legs are very weak, very excited." said Carolyn Esikhati, Mabwa's mother.

Members of the Patriot Guard and the Welcome Home Committee always welcome soldiers home after deployments.

And for Specialist Mabwa, it was no different.

"It's the first time I experienced it and they did a great a job. And I hope they keep doing it because our soldiers deserve that," said Russell Nebhut, a pastor from Mabwa's church.

Specialist Mabwa declined an interview with media, but we spoke to the pastor of his church who was also at Midland International Airport awaiting his arrival.

"Armstrong is a very meek, mild mannered, kind individual. Not the kind of person you'd normally think to be a soldier, but I know his heart and I know his dedication to whatever he sets his mind to do, so I have no doubt he's an excellent soldier for our country," Nebhut said.

Specialist Mabwa has served in the U.S. Army for two years and spent his first deployment in Afghanistan for one year.

And Mabwa's parents say their communication with their son was very limited.

"We haven't seen him for almost a year and a half so it has been a long year and a half," said Thomas Esikhati, Mabwa's father.

For Mabwa's parents, the welcome home ceremony was a surprise to them.

"He's only on leave for a few weeks, [and then] he's gotta be back in the thick of it and we don't know where he's going yet. So for everyone, pray for our soldiers, they need it," said Nebhut.
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