Soldier returns home to San Jose

January 7, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
It was an emotional homecoming for a San Jose soldier, returning to the Bay Area after his second tour of duty. This soldier has experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The day the Costa family has waited seven months for, is finally here.

"He's like my son," says the soldier's uncle, Johnny Lemus. "He's coming back home, we're really happy."

Spc. Manuel Costa is home after he just finished his second tour of duty. He spent one month in Afghanistan and another six in Iraq.

Costa worked as a combat photographer with special ops and Green Berets. He was in some of the most dangerous parts of both countries.

"Afghanistan is really hot right now, meaning a lot of stuff is going on. Iraq is not so much, it seems to be cooling down a little bit more towards our pull out period," says Costa.

President Obama promises to bring combat troops home by the end of August, but there is a renewed focus in Afghanistan ? an area Costa agrees needs help.

"The fighting just seems to intensify year after year, so there's still a very long way to go in Afghanistan," says Costa.

The parents of another soldier, Pvt. Max Thompson, watched Costa's home coming with emotion. They were at the airport Thursday night to say goodbye to their son who is leaving for his base in Louisiana. Pvt. Thompson is only 18, but he's ready to go to war.

"I'm just proud of him, I joined after 9/11 too. So, I think we all joined for the same reasons," says veteran Aaron Thompson.

Costa meantime, will spend only a few days in San Jose before going back to his base, in Baltimore.

Costa is sure he will not be deployed for a third time because his time in the service ends in six months.