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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 10 2012

Fargo-based Army Reservists return from Afghanistan

FARGO – Three-year-old Gavin Satrom thought he was going to a birthday party at the airport Tuesday morning.

But he got an even bigger surprise instead.

His father, Kirk Satrom, returned from a nearly yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

Gavin, wearing red, white and blue flashing jewelry and waving an American flag, smiled and clung to his dad while family members reunited.

“He will not leave your side,” said Kirk’s wife, Kimberly Satrom.

Ten Fargo-based Army Reservists returned home Tuesday from Afghanistan. The members of the 461st Engineering Company had been attached to the 322nd Engineering Company from Decorah, Iowa.

Kirk Satrom said being away from his family was the toughest part of being deployed. He missed the first words and first steps of his 1-year-old son, Landin.

“Everything else is easy compared to that,” he said.

Kimberly Satrom said she’s relieved to have her husband home.

“I’m overwhelmed with joy, more for the kids than anything,” she said.

Benjamin Bartle of Hatton will finally get to spend time with his new wife, Brandy. The couple got married in August when Benjamin was on a two-week leave from his deployment.

“It was kind of weird getting married and a week later he left,” Brandy said.

The couple plans to take a trip to Duluth, Minn., this weekend to go snowboarding, something Benjamin has missed.

Renee Schwebach of Dumont, Minn., said it was “incredible” to welcome home her daughter, Jamie Schwebach.

“It’s been a long year,” Renee said. “Not a lot of contact during the year, maybe once a week.”

When asked what she missed the most, Jamie quickly replied: “Family, good food and hot showers.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590