Two soldiers return to Monroe County after stint in Afghanistan

Two soldiers return to Monroe County after stint in Afghanistan

Posted:
Spec. Danial Ferris arrived home Sunday after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan. Spec. Danial Ferris arrived home Sunday after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE) - A special homecoming took place in Madisonville Sunday for a pair of Monroe County soldiers back from Afghanistan.

Pfc. Brent Ogle, 22, and Spec. Danial Ferris, 21, both graduated from Sequoyah High School before enlisting in the Army.

Ferris arrived home Sunday after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan, which was proceeded by a two month assignment in Fort Riley, Kansas.

"It was a long nine months of constant worrying and wondering if he was okay, and wondering if he was going to make it home safe, and seeing him get out of the car today was a great feeling," said Danial's mother, Jackie Yates. 

It wasn't just friends and relatives that greeted the 21 year old. Ferris was also escorted back to his home by around 30 Patriot Guard Riders.

Patriot Guard Riders is a national organization that pays honor to solider's who return home from duty.

"They wrote a check payable to the United States, up to and including their life, that's worthy of respect in my book, to give up my afternoon and escort them home," said Morgan Clough, with the Patriot Guard Riders.

Ferris' return to Monroe County comes just one day after his friend and high school classmate Pfc.  Ogle was greeted at McGhee Tyson Airport.  

"It's pretty cool, I mean we worked right across from each when we were in Kansas. I saw him one day, and I was like there is no way that was him, but it turned out to be," said Ferris. 

Many in Monroe County anticipated the arrival of both soldiers. Several businesses along U.S. Highway 411 posted signs welcoming the two back home.

Many waited alongside the road and waved flags as Ferris made his way back home.

"I was honored to stand outside on the road last night for Brent, and just wanted to make sure I was here for Daniel too," said Lowell Russell, a family friend of Cpl. Frankie Wilson and state trooper.  

County residents say the military has special place in their hearts.

In 2011, Madisonville native and Marine Lance Cpl. Frankie Watson was killed in combat in Afghanistan.  

"Of course Danial was friends with Frankie and we appreciate his service, and we're just really proud of Danial and what he's done for the country," said Russell.  

Although Ferris says his overseas experience hasn't changed him much, he can now legally have a drink in the U.S. He celebrated his 21st birthday while in Afghanistan.

"Yeah, he wasn't happy about it," said Yates.

Ferris and Ogle will only be home for a few weeks before heading back to Fort Riley, Kansas.

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