Big homecoming for Tyler native, back from Navy service

TYLER (KYTX) - A Tyler man finally comes home for good, after four years of service in the U.S. Navy.

As 22-year-old E5 David Byrd made his way off the plane and to the Tyler Pounds Airport lobby,  he was taken by surprise.

"I was not expecting this at all!" he said. "I was thinking I would quietly make it though the airport and go home."

Quiet certainly wasn't the word to describe his homecoming, as men and women from Welcome Home Soldier lined the airport with American flags.

"I've seen it on the news before, other people coming home. I just didn't think it'd ever happen to me!" Byrd said with a smile. "But I'm glad everybody showed up. I'm thankful for all these guys, all these other veterans. They've done their time, and now I've done mine and now I get to come home."

For the past four years he's been in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii.

"I was on U.S.S. Chosin doing electronic warfare."

He wasn't stationed at just any base.

"Pearl Harbor," Byrd said. "It's crazy. I never thought I'd get to that place. But I did."

After four years of experience in one of the most famous U.S. bases -- he's finally home in East Texas.

"He's coming home for good," says Byrd's girlfriend, Lauran Sulser couldn't hide her smile.

"It's exciting," she said. "It's a new chapter so we're going to see what's to come, what God has in store."

Now, Byrd is focusing his time on the people he loves most.

"My entire family lives here!" he said.

He's spending time with those who are now proud to call him a veteran.

Byrd says he is now focusing on his education. He starts classes at Kilgore College on the January 14. He'll be studying occupational safety.


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