Hundreds of local troops have returned home just in time for the holidays. For some of the airmen of the 8-24th Security Forces, this is something they haven't been able to do in two or three years.
A 747 packed with members of the 8-24 Security Forces landed at Moody Air Force Base just before 3 a.m. Friday morning. More than 150 airmen were unloaded and taken by bus to see their friends and families who had braved chilly weather to say "welcome home!”
"This morning? Oh, it’s great! I couldn't sleep on the last flight I was so anxious to land, anxious to see my Mom," said Devontay Williams /Senior Airman
Valerie Williams, Devontay's Mother, said, "It’s the happiest feeling I've had, just to see his face, that's what I was looking forward too. Now, just some quality time. We're going to pick out a tree, I've been waiting on him to get the tree, so that's going to be our first thing."
This will be the first holiday season at home in two or three years for some of these airmen, and they say they're very excited to be home for the holidays.
"It's awesome, it'll be the first Christmas at home in two years, for my family with me at home, and we're really looking forward to it. Just spending time with the family, we have family down in Florida, going down there in Florida and enjoying it with the family," said Kevin Johnson, Senior Master Sergeant
Many of these airmen say serving in the Middle East in Operation Iraqi Freedom was dangerous but add that they enjoyed their mission, but nothing beats coming home to a loving crowd.
The airmen will have a few weeks off before having to return to the base to prepare for their next mission.