Sergeant First Class Michael Landauer was reunited with his daughter, Nova, after being deployed overseas for the last year.

On Monday, January 29, 2024, Landauer helped organize a surprise for Nova, a first-grader at Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School. Mr. Epperson read a story about how to handle “worries” and lead a discussion about people the students’ missed. After Nova shared she was worried about her dad and would give him a bear hug when she saw him again, Mr. Epperson asked if anyone else had something to share and Landauer stepped through the door saying he “missed his little girl, Nova.”

“It has been a very hard year,” Landauer said. “It’s the first time I have been away from her [Nova] for that long since she was really little, it means a tremendous amount to be able to spend time with her.”

Landauer left home Jan 22, 2023 for Fort Hood before being deployed to Iraq, where he served as platoon sergeant, overseeing operations of a CH-47F Chinook heavy helicopter platoon for nine months. For the last 14 years, he has served in the National Guard with Bravo Company 3rd Battalion,126 Aviation Regiment. He has been deployed three times, one of which was in 2017 and he had to request emergency leave so he could be home as Nova was born.

(Pictured above: Landauer's platoon at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq)

Currently, Landauer is on leave through mid-March when he will begin his new job with the 42 Combat Aviation Brigade in Albany.

“Being gone has been hard for me and hard for her [Nova],” Landauer said. “With this brigade, it is less likely I will be deployed as often so I’ll be able to be here for her more.”

Welcome home, Sergeant First Class Landauer, and thank you for your service.