Soldier from Lemoore receives Purple Heart

FRESNO, Calif.

The moment the Garcia family of Lemoore had been waiting for finally arrived Monday. Army Specialist Leandro Garcia was home after his final deployment overseas.

"Very excited. Been praying for him to get home he finally made it," Leandro Garcia Sr. said.

His grandfather, a Vietnam War veteran and about two dozen family members were at Fresno Yosemite International Airport to greet him.

"I've actually missed my family and the cooking-- that is all I've missed," Spc. Leandro Garcia said.

"To see him getting off that plane I was glad he was home finally," Albert Garcia said.

The family had been worried, especially after a close call two years ago in Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old served as a door gunner on a Chinook helicopter that was on a resupply mission when it was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade.

His grandmother Eva remembers getting the call. "For a minute there I thought I was going to faint because I just didn't know what to think. I thought the worse at one point."

The chopper caught fire and made a hard landing, but Garcia escaped with minor injuries. "I had a one week recovery period and then got right back up in the air."

Earlier this month he was honored with two of the army's most prestigious awards-- a Purple Heart and an Air Medal.

"He's our first one to receive such an honorable award."

It's an experience his family says Garcia doesn't like to talk much about and it's fine by them. They're just glad after 6 years, this time, he's home for good.

"He really didn't tell us much about what goes on, what he's seen… he just figured he served his country-- did his job and now he's done," Delbert Garcia said.

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