More Seabees Return Home To Waiting Families - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/30/03

More Seabees Return Home To Waiting Families

Hundreds of Seabees are back on U.S. soil after a 6 month deployment to the Middle East.

Returning troops stepped onto the red carpet and into the relieved arms of family and friends.

About 120 Seabees, many of them from the New York/New Jersey area, landed at the Air National Guard base around 8:15 Wednesday evening.

They were tired from the long journey from Southwest Asia, but their energy was renewed when they saw smiling faces of those they fought to protect - their families.

Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the Air National Guard Base in Gulfport to welcome home their heroes.

The men and women of Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 7, 21, and 133, were greeted with cheers, tears, and many hugs and kisses.

A few of the men were greeted with something even more special - new babies.

But all of the troops were simply excited to just walk off of the plane, and into the arms of loved ones.

"I can't express it. You know it's like I'm so happy I'm back home to where it's safe. It's my first time holding her. And how does it feel? It feels great,"said Eric Smith.

"This is the first time for you to see your baby. How does it feel? 6 days old and our first born Daniel Paul. He looks awesome," said Chaplain Paul Rumery.

"We've been waiting forever it seems like It was a rough deployment and we're just happy to be back. It feels great," said Terri Gabriel.

Many of the troops were from the North and Northeast, and so of course, some families could not make it to their loved ones homecoming.

But the Veterans of Foreign War were out there to make it a bit easier for these troops.

They set up Operation Uplink, where they could call their families for up to 10 minutes anywhere in the U.S., and let them know they have made it home.

By Karla Redditte

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