Hugs and handshakes greeted returning troops at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Tuesday morning.
Thirteen members of the 81st Security Squadron returned home following an eight month mission. Their deployment included duty in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Anxious family and friends stood ready to start the party.
"There she is! There she is!," screamed Anna Richardson, as she got the first glimpse of her daughter.
Airport reunions make weary troops forget about the 18 hour plane ride. Miranda Richardson stepped into a sea of hugs and happiness.
"I'm just glad to be home. Just glad to be home. Got a family that loves me. I'm just glad to be home. It's been a long, long time. Forever," she said.
A long awaited kiss and embrace greeted Cody Giboney. Not to mention the flowers and balloon bouquet.
"Exciting. Very. I was hoping for this kind of welcome," he said.
Their overseas assignment began with Operation Enduring Freedom which turned into Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Wasn't too tough. It was just real long, nerve wracking to be over there for such a long time," said Jordan Wicks.
Barren Schuler is part of a military family. His wife and mother in law got deployed elsewhere.
"Yeah, it's real tough. Because grandmother was deployed and my wife gone too. It was real bad on my little girl. So, we're home now, hopefully if she ever gets to the airport," he explained.
Wife and daughter arrived just a few minutes late. Their tardiness didn't matter.
"I was running late getting my hair done. But I made it. And I'm very excited today," she said.
Homecoming excitement helps make up for months of separation. You've heard what absence does to the heart.