ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Inside the St. Cloud Armory, Alisha Solway awaits her husband's return.
"Anxious, excited," Solway said. "I should've worn waterproof makeup."
Solway is there with her 2-month-old son, Colton. She holds a sign that says, "I'm not as tiny as I used to be. Come and kiss your mini-me. Welcome home, Daddy!"
Alisha found out she was pregnant while Sgt. Joshua Solway was serving in Kuwait.
Sgt. Solway has been away from his family in Baxter for about 11 months.
"I don't know. It was overwhelming at first. I didn't know what to do," she said.
Luckily, he was able to come home for the birth of his son, but then had to head back overseas.
"I think Colton is very excited to see his daddy again. Even has a shirt... 'Get out of my way. I get my daddy back today,'" Alisha said.
Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota National Guard's 851st Vertical Engineer Company based at Camp Ripley returned home after nearly 11 months away from loved ones. While deployed, the soldiers completed construction projects in support of military units in several countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.
Sgt. Solway and 157 other soldiers flew in to the St. Cloud Regional Airport. They were then taken on shuttle buses to the St. Cloud Armory to be reunited with loved ones.
This is Sgt. Solway's second tour in three years.
"This one felt a little bit longer than the last one, that's for sure," he says.
In the parking lot of the St. Cloud Armory, Alisha spots her husband.
"It's exciting. I'm ready to have him home," she says.
They embrace and share a kiss before Sgt. Solway holds his son.
When Colton was born he weighed 7 lbs.; 8 oz. He now weighs nearly 13 lbs.
Sgt. Solway says, "I'm really excited to be home with my wife and kid."