VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - It was a welcome home party full of tears, hugs and kisses Tuesday morning as about 50 Airmen from the 723rd Air Craft Maintenance Squadron reunited with their families in Valdosta.
The group arrived at Moody Air Force Base around 4:00 a.m. after a four-month deployment at a joint base in Balad, Iraq.
The airmen were responsible for inspections and maintenance on search and rescue helicopters.
Many of the men and women we talked to said time away from loved ones is tough, but it's worth it to serve our country and protect their families' freedom.
"I mean that's what we're fighting for over there in the first place to make sure she has a safe place to come home to," said Airman Jody Winnett as he held his girlfriend Ashley Shafer.
"I'm just ready to go home and spend some time together, we've got to have Christmas and celebrate our son's birthday she missed," said Jared Albright whose wife, Airman Amy Albright returned from her 7th deployment.
"The bus pulled up and I saw her, and I almost put my face to the glass like little kids at the store! I tried though to keep it composed, you know," said Airman Noah McCollough talking about his first reaction to seeing his wife.
There was a lot of love in the air Tuesday morning. Some got very emotional as husbands, wives, and children hugged and kissed their military heroes.
The group left in September so they missed Christmas and lots of birthdays. Now they plan to make up for lost time and get plenty of rest.
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