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A red, white, blue return: East Texas soldier back from tour in Afghanistan receives grand welcome

By Christina Lane
July 3, 2012 at 11 p.m.


GLADEWATER - When U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Bailey, his wife and children arrived at Lake Gladewater for a play day Tuesday, they were greeted by dozens of American flags, smiling faces and hugs as Bailey returned home from a tour in Afghanistan.

"It's good to know the community cares as much as we do," Bailey said.

Bailey returned from serving the past year in Afghanistan as a transportation specialist. He said Afghanistan was "extremely hot," and he missed the Texas humidity.

Bailey has been in the Army for about nine years and also served two tours in Iraq. He was last home on leave for two weeks in November.

"It's hard when he is away, but you learn how to handle it," said his wife, Krystal Bailey.

Clint Bailey said family is what he misses most when he is away. His daughter, Katelyn, is 4, and 1-year-old son Kasen started walking while Bailey was in Afghanistan.

"I couldn't believe how big the kids had gotten," he said.

Bailey graduated from Gladewater High School, where he played quarterback on the football team. He said he enjoys being home as much as possible, and was present when the body of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Brad Gaudet was returned home.

"It was amazing to come back and see Gladewater support us like that," Bailey said.

He will be home for 30 days before going to Germany, where he is stationed. He will be in Germany for two or three weeks before returning home for good.

During the next 30 days, Bailey said he wants to spend time with his family, play golf and enjoy his weekends.

"We're all excited to have him back," mother-in-law Vicky Norman said. "It's like a void has been filled. We're not complete without him."

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