BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - After a lot of anticipation, friends and family welcomed 200 Marines and Sailors with VMFA 312 and MALS 31 back home at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
"It's so great to have him home," said Kristen Dasilva. "We've been anticipating this for such a long time and its just wonderful to have him home again."
With Christmas just days away, this homecoming couldn't have come at a better time.
"All I wanted for Christmas was to have our family together and God has blessed with our whole family being together for his first Christmas, couldn't ask for anything more," said Nicole Raker.
"We've only been married a year and half, being home for Christmas one of those years is great," said Kyle Taylor.
"It's great, perfect timing," said Jason Dasilva. "Best Christmas present ever," said Kristen.
But for many like the Raker's, this moment has been a long-time coming.
"Communication has been real short," said Cpl. Mike Raker. "So its really exciting to be home especially for Christmas, it's a gift."
While their mission overseas is over, Cpl. Raker has another one waiting at home.
"Operation Diaper Freedom," said his wife Nicole. "Daddy's next mission is Operation Diaper Freedom."
Although the military families are grateful to be reunited for the holidays, they never stop thinking about those who won't be.
"God Bless the troops that can't be home for Christmas. Our thoughts are with them," said Cassie Dunn. "We're glad they are home but there are still lots of guys and gals our there fighting so everyone should remember them."