H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jan 7, 2011 8:34 PM by Danielle Lerner

Paso Robles soldier returns home from year-long tour in Kuwait

A local family is celebrating after a Paso Robles soldier returns from Kuwait. Sgt. Michael Howard has been serving in Kuwait for one year, working to set up communications for troops. Friday's homecoming was a moment more than six months in the making.

"Excited, happy," said Diana Howard. "I haven't seen him since June 11."

Diana Howard had butterflies as she waited for her husband, Michael, to touch down in San Luis Obispo. The couple tied the knot back in June while he was home on a 15-day leave from Kuwait.

Then after months of waiting the moment finally arrived. Family, friends and even strangers gathered at the airport to give Sgt. Michael Howard a hero's welcome.

"I was very surprised, I was expecting a couple people but then you know I had a whole group of people, big signs and I feel pretty good," said Howard.

This is Howard's second tour of duty in Kuwait and he has also served in Iraq. He says heading overseas is always tough for him and the family he leaves behind.

"It's hard but you know, keep focused on what you're trying to do over there and trying to make it worth your time," said Howard.

"It was hard because I felt like we weren't able to enjoy being husband and wife," said Diana Howard. "We had to kind of postpone it for a bit but we have our future ahead of us."

It is a future where Howard is staying close to home, at least for now. He will be stationed at Camp Roberts indefinitely.

"Excitement and joy to be home," said Howard.

"Here he is and I really can't express how I feel," said Diana Howard. "It's indescribable."

As for what is next Howard says he will spend the weekend catching up with his friends and family. He and his wife also have a Lakers game and a trip to Universal Studios on the agenda for later this month.

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