Last week he patrolled battlegrounds in Iraq, on Saturday night he returned home safely to his Dayton family.
A big crowd gathered at Reno-Tahoe International Airport to welcome home Major Shawn Casey, a man who hadn't seen most of his family and friends in nearly a year.
Casey led a group of 12 soldiers into a sea of red, white and blue, but amidst all the yelling and chaos, it didn't take long for the Major to find the two people most important to him - his wife Darsi and 13-year-old daughter Jordin.
"They held everything together while I've been gone," said Major Casey. "And that made it so much easier for me. They're the real heroes in this: the families. And my wife and daughter especially."
"It's been a long year," said Darsi. "There's been a lot of really tough stuff. You don't realize how hard it is until you go through it."
Last February, Major Casey left for Iraq where he transferred prisoners and other detainees around the country. His family anxiously awaited his return, religiously watching the news for any information about Shawn.
"Every time you hear on the news anything happening Iraq, Afghanistan, anything; you run to the tv and you wait," said Chris Molinar, Shawn's mother.
But on Saturday night, all of that anxiety finally stopped and the celebration began. The accomplished major can now return to being a husband and father; responsibilities he appreciates now more than ever.
"We had an important mission over there," said Major Casey. "But you just can't be home and it's been a long time and this reception is incredible and I really appreciate it."
Major Casey's step brother Justin is also in the Nevada National Guard and he recently left for Afghanistan. Casey says he's looking forward to welcoming Justin home someday,just like all of his family and friends welcomed home the Major on Saturday night.
Two other local soldiers also came home on Saturday. Lt Colonel Jeff Mark from Gardnerville and First Sgt Bud Chattlin from Reno.
The Nevada National Guard currently has about 300 soldiers and airmen fighting overseas. You can visit www.webofsupport.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can adopt one of these soldiers.