Members of the 195th Forward Support Company of the Nebraska Army National Guard returned to Omaha Wednesday afternoon. The ten soldiers who returned home for deployed for six months.
Guardsmen were greeted off the bus by Governor Ricketts and dozens of friends and family members.
1st Lieutenant Nathan McGrudder was anxious to come back and see his girlfriend of one year, Ellise Nichols for one very big reason.
For the last five months, McGrudder and her parents have been planning a big surprise for Nichols.
The couple, who lives in Kearney, has been doing long distance for the last six months while McGrudder served in Iraq.
"I've been waiting six months to do it, so I'm just glad I finally got to do it today," says McGrudder.
Nichols' parents helped McGrudder organize the proposal logistics from home. They say they're incredibly happy and impressed with McGrudder's efforts towards their daughter.
"Nate has planned this whole thing while he's deployed and is worrying about everyone else. That's just the type of man that he is," says Marsha Nichols.
McGrudder says the most challenging part was keeping the surprise proposal a secret from his now fiancé.
"I think she may have suspected something when her friend from Salt Lake City flew in last night. So she had been kind of pondering all day like what's going on, but I don't think she suspected the proposal. I think she thought this was part of the big party. I hope she was as surprised as she seemed to be," says Marsha Nichols.
The couple has already started the wedding planning. They'll be getting married next summer in South Dakota after McGrudder's next deployment to to Iraq.