“Daddy is coming, daddy is coming,” he said with childlike enthusiasm as a small crowd gathered outside the Air National Guard base in Reno late Tuesday afternoon, waiting for the return of their loved ones. More than 50 National Guard airmen were scheduled to come home after a six-week deployment to Afghanistan, including Isaac’s father, Steven Snyder.
Joanie Morris was also excited to see her son return.
“He has been to Iraq four times,” Morris said.
As the woman scanned the horizon with her husband, George, a small speck appeared in the afternoon sky.
“There he is,” Morris said, almost in unison with several other members of the crowd.
The Nevada National Guard has about 4,000 soldiers and airmen, according to guard spokesman Sgt. Erick Studenicka. He added that about 200 Nevada airmen are deployed around the world supporting combat operations. However, these guard members have been slowly trickling home. About 15 airmen returned from missions in Asia on Christmas Eve, and about 20 more are expected to arrive tonight from missions in Afghanistan.
As of Dec. 1, 450 Nevada soldiers were serving in Afghanistan with 1/221st Cavalry.
The guard unit has 700 soldiers total with soldiers from Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Guam, Studenicka said.
The troops who returned home Tuesday and those who are expected today are from the 152nd Operations Group, the 192nd Airlift Squadron, the 152nd Maintenance Group and the 152nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
In November, President Barack Obama issued an order to send about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Obama will be asking for $33 billion more to fund wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Local National Guard officials said that the announcements are unlikely to affect any soldiers currently serving overseas and orders have yet to be released as to additional deployments from Nevada.
About 160 additional National Guard members are expected home in April after a year of serving in the Middle East.
All the time in Afghanistan made Steve Snyder miss a few things other than his family.
"I am looking forward to sleeping in a nice, clean bed," he said. "That's the biggest thing."
Snyder was hesitant to say what his plans were now that he was home. But his wife Melissa said under her breath, "We are going to Disneyland."
The trip was a surprise for their children and a chance to spend time together as a family while Steven is home, she said.