Two strike fighter squadrons based out of Lemoore returned home Saturday after months at war. It was a happy homecoming that was heart warming.
This squadron of freedom fighters has been on patrol in the Persian Gulf for eight months. They were supposed to be home in May but twice the Pentagon extended their stay.
Loved ones like Navy wife Michelle Brunn could hardly contain themselves. "Today's like Christmas for us. We're super excited because he missed Christmas. So it's gonna be fun to have him here. Make up for lost time."
Kendall Urick is the daughter of a Navy pilot. Her dress says it all, the Navy has my Daddy, but I have his heart. Kendall's Mom Amanda says the separation is never easy. "I think they have a hard time understanding why he's gone, why he's missing Christmas and birthdays and that kind of thing."
Just after noon the F–A 18's were on the ground and the pilots were back on American soil. Let the homecoming begin. "Daddy, Daddy. I missed you little buddy. You've grown and gotten big. You've gotten big while I was gone. What did you do? You've lost some teeth. Give me a kiss."
The hug line was long for Captain Jayson Urick. It's been 238 days since he's seen his family. "To come home and see all the lifestyle changes that they've had over the last eight months, it's just an amazing feeling."
For Captain Jeremy Brunn this is his sixth and likely final deployment. The commanding officer had words of praise for his wife and the troops in Afghanistan. "She's always amazing how she handles it. I don't know how she does it. She keeps it all together on the home front."
"Spent a good deal of time supporting Operation Enduring Freedom supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan. That's probably the most rewarding missions that we flew supporting our guys on the ground who are in harm's way right now," Captain Brunn said.
On Tuesday some 700 sailors and another strike fighter squadron will return to Lemoore. That homecoming will likely be even larger than Saturday.
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