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Family, Friends Welcome Back Airmen After 6-Month Deployment

Family and friends reunited with members of the 39th Airlift Squadron mid-Tuesday afternoon.
Hand-made signs and excited children gathered on the edge of the landing strip as six aircraft carrying aircrews, maintenance, and support personnel landed one at at a time at Dyess Air Force Base.

"I want to give my Dad a million kisses," daughter Niki Snyder says.

Family and friends reunited with members of the 39th Airlift Squadron mid-Tuesday afternoon.

More than 170 members of the squadron had been deployed in Afghanistan to help execute airlift missions in the region. For the past six months, family back in Abilene waited anxiously to greet the ones they love.

"I just want my husband to get here," Ginny Bone said. "Its been a long six months and it really never get easy."

"It makes me emotional but I just want to say to my son how proud I am of him for serving our country," says Gwynne King, a mother who traveled from North Carolina.

The men and women arrived just around 2:30 p.m. and immediately, loved ones scurried to get a chance to hug one another. As expected, emotions filled the windy Tuesday afternoon, but many of the airmen say they're just glad to be back.

"Its been a long ride and I would love to just relax," says Sgt. Ryan Bone. "I also get to hang out with my son and looking forward to get to know him again."

During their time overseas, the squadron was split between two stations.
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