MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A soldier arrived home to a warm welcome at Myrtle Beach International Airport after months of being deployed overseas.
More than 140 supporters came out to see Captain Jeffery Layton return home from a nine month deployment to Afghanistan.
The crowd cheered and Layton burst into tears when he saw his wife and four children waiting among them.
“It was emotional I wasn’t expecting it,” said Layton.
Layton’s mother in law, Jeni Patterson, was behind the surprise for the Army Reservist.
WIth the help of Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina she was able to keep it surprise from his wife and kids as well.
Patterson says she was overcome by relief when she finally saw him, “I’ve been waiting for this since he was deployed to Afghanistan.”
A teacher in civilian life, Layton was also greeted by former students excited to see him home safe and sound, including Matthew Torres.
“I was also part of his science club, is was really fun being able to hang out with him all the time, so not being able to see him all of last year was definitely rough for me,” said Torres.
Members of Operation Welcome Home waved flags, children held homemade signs, and strangers Layton never met showed their support.
Layton said the distance from his young family was difficult, “its terrible, you do what you do because they tell you you have to and you do it with out question, but you know it hurts, it hurts to be away from your family.”
He also said he was completely blown away by the surprise waiting for him “It was great, and I truly appreciated it.”‘
Captain Layton was in command of 15 soldiers overseas who he all saw come back safely, he added he just hopes they got the same welcome that he did.