An SAS sniper released from jail after winning a court appeal said the process was an "emotional rollercoaster".
Sergeant Danny Nightingale, 37, had his 18 months' military detention for illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition overturned on Thursday by three appeal judges.
The father-of-two said he was convinced he would be returning to the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester and did not entertain the idea of being released.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph he said being reunited with his wife, Sally, who had led the campaign for his release, was a "very special moment".
He said: "I left the cells and went up into the courts and gave Sally a hug. We didn't need to talk; a hug said it all. A lot of emotion flowed between us then. It was a hug of emotion; I can't put it into words. It was just a very special moment."
He also spoke of how he was determined to retain his integrity while serving his original sentence and carried out all tasks that were asked of him, as well as training a young man how to fire a pistol.
But the hardest burden was being away from his family and worrying how his wife and children would cope.
He added: "But I also realised I had to be very professional. Even though I was Detainee Under Sentence Nightingale - I didn't have the rank of sergeant - I was determined to retain my integrity."
Sgt Nightingale was jailed after admitting illegally possessing a Glock 9mm pistol and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.
He claimed he could not remember having the pistol - given as a gift after served in Iraq - due to a brain injury which had affected his memory.