CROW AGENCY - It was a homecoming fit for an American hero as a Crow soldier returned Friday after a one-year mission in Kuwait and Syria.
Specialist Vernon Fisher Jr. left when his youngest child was 10 months old, but he reunited with his loved ones on this very special Veterans Day at the Crow multi-purpose building.
Fisher was one of four warriors welcomed back to the reservation by the Crow Tribe, which also held a ceremony to honor all veterans.
In addition, about 20 soldiers returned to the Armed Forces Reserve Center Billings on Thursday.
Honoring veterans is important to the soldiers, the families and the tribal members.
Fisher dreamed about the day he would reunite with his wife Eva, and their three young kids.
"They don't recognize me, so (they) have to get used to me again," Fisher said.
That is a reality of life after deployment.
Fisher's youngest child was just 10 months old when her dad deployed.
"We had a conference call with some of the other families who have been deployed before," said Eva Fisher. "And the expectations of when they come back and they said don't be surprised if your kids don't know him."
Adjustment to life back in Montana will take some time, but Eva couldn't wait to embrace her husband after more than a year apart.
"I never realized how much of a presence he made while he was home," she said.
And it also means a lot to Fisher's community.
Crow tribal elders welcomed specialist Fisher home.
He was one of the 350 who served from the first of the 1-163rd Combined Arms Battalion and the 631st Chemical Company.
Fisher was the only Crow soldier who returned to the center on Thursday.
"Fourth or third generation soldier, so it's always been in my family," Fisher said.
"It's part of our culture, we want to honor them," Eva said.
And on Friday, the Crow tribe recognized the service of four warriors.
In addition to Fisher, Sergeant Turrel Steward and Specialist Cimarron Hugs also came to Crow Agency.
A fourth soldier specialist, Justin Zier, was not able to attend because of the roads.
"A combat veteran of the Crow Tribe is going to blacken their cheeks," said Dale Old Horn, advisor on cultural affairs to the Crow chair. "The blacking cheeks is a symbol of victory and war."
All four served in the same unit and have seen the warrior ceremony since they were kids.
"Went on our party and we came back and no one got hurt," Fisher said.