128th Back Home in the Badger State

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

See the light up there?" said Javier Teniente.

That light was the plane that brought back half of the second battalion of Wisconsin's 128th infantry division.

And on that plane was private first class Gabriel Teniente.

A second generation soldier whose dad Javier was part of the group waiting for him.

And as a former Marine who knows war, Javier was relieved to be holding his son again.

"Welcome home son, I love you," said Javier, "I'm so proud of you."

Javier Teniente fought in the first gulf war and says the current war has been much harder on the majority of the troops fighting it.

"It hurt to see our guys go and it hurts more to see your own son go," said Javier. "I'm just happy to have him back."

Gabriel's unit was in charge of security for bases in northern Kuwait.

With more than 500 soldiers in all, the 128th is comprised of members from all over southern Wisconsin; places like Fort Atkinson, Reedsburg, Baraboo and Elkhorn.

No doubt, many of them couldn't wait to see their families tonight.

And Gabriel Teniente is no different.

Even while he was away, Teniente says he family was instrumental in protecting his sanity.

Keeping him comfortable with countless care packages.

"Things to keep myself and my mind entertained while I was sitting there, didn't have anything to do," said Gabriel. "It's just one big thinking game when you're over there for a whole year and you get nothing to do."

Gabriel followed his dad and became a military man and he plans on doing the same thing in civlian life.

Javier is a Madison fire fighter.

And Gabriel says he'll be heading to the fire academy this spring.

"I'm really excited and happy to start living again," said Gabriel, "living my life from where I took off last summer."

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