A welcome sight for sore eyes at Travis Field in Savannah this afternoon. About 30 members of the 165th Airlift Wing received a happy homecoming today as they touched down. Their families and friends waited anxiously on the tarmac. Then, the mad rush to meet them.
For many of these guardsmen, this is their second or third tour of duty this year, causing them to miss many family milestones.
As most of us know, during these long deployments, those who seem to be hit the hardest are the children of our servicemen and -women. Today the returning members of the 165th wanted to recognize these special kids.
It seems that when you're a kid, all you do is wait. And that couldn't be more true than for these children today.
"We haven't seen him in two months," said Cole Wood, 7.
They're waiting patiently. Or at least as patiently as they can as their dads to come home from Operation Enduring Freedom any minute now.
"This is his fifth tour in two years," Cindy Drew of Savannah said. And her 16-month-old twins Ansley and Madeline had some new tricks to show Dad.
"I have a picture of the four of us before he left this morning," Cindy said. "It's unbelievable how much they changed. They're both walking in opposite directions."
And when that plane landed, the girls went in one direction.
Being a kid is hard enough. But having a Dad deployed for what seems like forever is even harder. "Well, I tried to run and hug him tight," said Katie Hadwin, 8.
And to make today even more special, for the first time these children were surprised with the first Home Front Heroes awards.
"For being a responsible child while my dad was away," said Katie. "Did chores and stuff like that."
Twenty children of all ages received a medal. But their biggest reward is Daddy being home.
These Airmen were activate in early 2003 and most of them have already been deployed a many as five times already, so these children certainly deserved the recognition.