The month of July was the deadliest for American soldiers since the war began nine years ago.
Harsh news for many Valley families with members overseas, but regardless of whether they are coming or going, military families told Action 4 News they are thankful and proud for their soldier's sacrifice.
One such family is the Castillos. They were unable to ho hold back the tears at a first glimpse of their returning soldier, as we arrived at McAllen Miller International Airport on Saturday afternoon.
It is a moment the entire family has been waiting for a year and a half.
"It feels good, First Lt. Adrian Castillo said. It feels good after spending eight months in Afghanistan, so it feels good to be home."
Prior to that, he had been stationed in Germany for a year. He is back in Valley for only two weeks, but his family is just happy to have him back again, safely. And so, they will celebrating big time.
"It TMs my graduation, it TMs also my dad TMs birthday, and now Adrian's home so it TMs like a homecoming and everything," sister Clarisa Castillo added with tears in her eyes.
A hero's welcome for their American hero. But as the Castillos rejoice over his homecoming another Valley family has to deal with the return of their soldier back to Afghanistan that very same afternoon.
Unfortunately, the whole family could not be there.
"My wife couldn't be here because she came down with leukemia and she's in Houston. He went to visit her," Ysidro Vargas said.
With tears in their eyes, and holding tight for one last time, the Vargas held tightly to their soldier, proud of his sacrifices, praying for his safety.
"He's got a dangerous job there, but he said he can handle it so I'm confident that he will with the help of God too," he said.
Three weeks for him went by very quickly, now Vargas begins his countdown, six months, 184 days until he is able to hold his soldier once again.