Eastover, SC (WLTX) - After serving overseas for several months, 350 airmen with the South Carolina Air National Guard are back home.
Families gathered at the the McEntire Air National Guard Base early Tuesday morning for a day that felt like an eternity in the making.
Col. Akshai Gandhi with the South Carolina Air National Guard says it’s been a busy few months for them.
“We have the aviation package on the road, 350 airmen. Twelve aircraft deployed overseas to (Southwest Asia). Well at the same time we still have the homeland to defense mission. At the same time, we’ve had Hurricane Florence roll through and a lesser impact to South Carolina with Hurricane Michael. Eleven thousand soldiers and airmen of the South Carolina National Guard has been pretty busy lately,” explained Gandhi.
Gandhi says families play in an important role in supporting their loved ones who are serving overseas.
Two kids, Bailey and Layla, are filled with excitement — they've been without their dad for nearly four months. He's one of the 350 airmen with the South Carolina Air National Guard who left their families to go to Southwest Asia to protect our country.
After almost 16 weeks, the moment is finally here. As soon as the airmen came off the bus at the hanger, families ran into the arms they’ve been missing for months.
Staff Sergeant Michael Floyd, Bailey and Layla’s father, says he's been missing their faces since the day he left.
"Really glad to be home. Really awesome to be back with my babies, my wife, and my other little baby," said Michael. "This is my whole world. These two and this one here, they're my reason for everything.”
His wife, Christy, says it's been tough being without her husband for so long.
"Learning patience I guess is what you can to sum this all up. They kept me busy so I'm thankful for them through this time," said Christy.
It's the little things like a hug and kiss, which we take for granted, that can mean so much to someone else.
As for what's next for the Floyd family, they plan on just enjoying spending time together.
"No plans. Just relax. That's it. That's all we're going to do. Spend time together and eat a cheeseburger," laughed Michael.
Some of the airmen are still making their way home. The other Swamp Fox Pilots and F-16 Jet Fighters should make it back in the next few days.