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Deployment Ends In Sweet Reunion
military hug
Cecilia Calton ran straight into her moms arms as soon as she saw her. The kindergartener teared up as she hugged her mother for the first time in seven months. - photo by Autumn Neal/The Leader

While Thursday, May 24 was Cecilia Calton’s last day as a kindergartener, it was also her first day seeing her mom in seven months.

Regina Calton serves in the U.S. Air Force and, until just last week, had been deployed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, Regina said that she worked as a logistics planner.

“I was redeploying people and cargo,” she explained.

This had been Regina’s fourth deployment, while her husband, Aaron, is on his sixth deployment. Regina was stationed seven months ago in Cuba, while Aaron was deployed in January to South Korea.

“I’m thankful for my husband’s family,” Regina said, “when (Aaron) had to leave and I was already gone, (they) brought (Cecilia) here to go to school at Magnolia.”

Because Aaron’s family is located in Oakdale, they were able to take in Cecilia for the four months when both her parents were stationed abroad.

Thursday morning, Regina and other members of the family waited outside of Magnolia Elementary School’s front doors. After an awards assembly, kindergarten classes took a walking field trip to a local park to celebrate the last day of school. After dozens of kids filed out of the doors, Cecilia ran to catch up with her class, but then stopped short when she heard a familiar voice.

Cecilia cried out “Mommy!” when she saw Regina kneeling in her uniform by the benches, and then ran to her mom for a sweet reunion.

Tears filled the eyes of many onlookers when Regina and Cecilia embraced. For the rest of the morning, Cecilia couldn’t stop clinging to her mom and asking her questions.

“I was just really nervous and anxious about coming to get her,” Regina admitted after the reunion.

Now, the mother and daughter pair can look forward to some time together before Regina is deployed through the Air Force again. Typically, she has a year to a year and a half between deployments to spend with her family.

For now, they can focus on the fact that Regina’s home and enjoy their time together.