After six grueling months in Afghanistan, 168 airmen touched down at Moody Air Force base in Valdosta.
For many of them, this is their fourth deployment.
For April McGhee, 26, and her three children, time apart from her husband wasn't easy. "It does put a lot of extra stress on one person. So, it's definitely been a challenge," she said, as she patiently waited for his arrival.
But 45 minutes later, he arrived to a cheering crowd. And just just after embracing him, she said the end of her husband's third deployment is a huge relief.
Her husband, Staff Sgt. Adam McGhee, said as he hugged his children, "It's especially exciting to see the younger two, you know, [how they] have changed and grown over six months."
With every homecoming, there are troops preparing for deployment. At Moody, the last group, also part of the 23rd Maintenance Group, headed out two weeks ago.
But officials say it may be a year before these guys deploy again.
"When we get close to deploying again, we'll start doing what we call 'spin up sortie, spin up training' requirements for our folks to get them ready to go again," said Colonel Neal Robinson, commander of the group.
Senior Airman Patrick Peloquin may not be ready to go back for a while. He said, "Hopefully, not for a long time."
Until then, these members of the 23rd Maintenance and Fighter Group say they plan to make every moment count.
Most families said they're eager to return home and get to know one another again.
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