Families Welcome Hawks Home After Seven Months in Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/18/06

Families Welcome Hawks Home After Seven Months in Iraq

The Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 has served in and around Iraq, but now they're back with friends and family in Beaufort. It was a heroes' welcome for the Hawks, as they stepped out their planes on to the tarmac, back from a seven-month deployment.

It was a homecoming these Marines won't soon forget.

Maj. Matt Phares said it was awesome coming home to his his family. "I'm surprised how much my boys have grown up, and I look forward to going home and spending time with them."

For many spouses, including Lori Warman, seeing these Marines back home is an answer to prayers. "Unbelievable," she said. "Just glad he's back and glad he's home."

These aviators are glad to be back on American soil, but Master Sgt. Bill James said, "We did something that needed to be done."

The James family was front and center and didn't waste any time reuniting. Master Sgt. James, like many fathers, describes the homecoming as indescribable, saying, "It feels so great. I've got the best family in the world. I'm so glad to be home."

The Hawks' homecoming could not have come at a better time for Master Sgt. James. Friday is his son Kyle's first football game of the season.

"I'll be excited," said Kyle. "I'll hit a little harder because he's there."

While Master Sgt. James' family missed him, they couldn't be prouder.

"Knowing he was called to duty and knowing he was willing to go over there and fight for everyone, our country, it makes me feel happy," said James' daughter Samantha.

The Hawks provided close air support and aerial reconnaissance for troops on the ground in Iraq. You can expect more Hawk homecomings next week.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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