Knoxville (WVLT) - A happy homecoming for a young East Tennessee couple Wednesday night.
Amanda and Carson Lethco grew up together, but they didn't fall in love until recently. Wednesday, Amanda planned an extraordinary homecoming to welcome home her hero.
"He's got a big surprise!"
Amanda Lethco waits for the love of her life, surprise in hand...
"He has no idea," she says.
In August, he left for Iraq. Now, on her 20th birthday, he's headed back home.
"It's the best birthday I've had so far. I haven't really thought about the birthday part, I just want him home," Amanda says. "This is the hardest part...waiting."
Amanda hasn't seen him in seven months, and the happy homecoming was worth the wait.
"I missed you," she says.
"I was nervous when I got off the plane. I was nervous to death to come back and see her and its been so long and then when I saw her, it was just a huge relief, the weight lifted off my shoulders because I was home, back with her," Carson says.
Amanda is happy to have Carson back home... where he can wear his real wedding band. The two were married in May, but he was deployed shortly after...
"You're supposed to be growing together through that first year and we were growing.. not apart but growing ourselves, now we've got to mesh back together
But just as quickly as Carson returned from one foreign country, they're headed to another very soon.
"We're gonna go to Germany, we're gonna set up our apartment in Germany and get prepared to go back," Carson says.
...back to Iraq, and if their love can conquer one deployment this young couple believes no distance will divide them.
"She's strong and she's got a great heart," Carson says.
"If I can do it once, I'll have to do it again... you're worth it," Amanda says.
Private Second Class Lethco plans to become part of a surgical team for his second tour of duty.
The couple leaves for Germany April 5th.