BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When the men and women of the 815th "Flying Jennies" and the 345th "Golden Eagles" deployed in January, their families stood by with tears, bundled against the cold. Four month later, winter has melted into spring, kids have grown a little taller, and while the tears have returned they are for joy this time.
"I can't even say, we're just so excited," said Susan Zieman who, along with her daughter in law, was eagerly awaiting the return of her son.
"It's awesome. It's a day we've been waiting for four months now. I'm so glad to have him home," said military wife Jennifer Sharp.
When the two Hercules aircrafts carrying the unit that has been deployed in Afghanistan came to a halt, friends and families rushed forward for the anxiously awaited reunion.
"Outstanding. A lot more humid here than it is in Afghanistan, but I wouldn't trade it for the world," said Squadron Commander Craig Williams on being home.
However, the weather isn't the only thing that has changed in their absence. The unit heard of the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden at the same time their families did back home.
"It was news to us like it was anyone else. We literally saw it on the TV," said Williams. "Honestly, that's someone else's business, and we have our own to take care of and we're just heads down, keep doing what we're doing."
While the rest of the nation celebrated, the squadron never stopped working to deliver critical airlift support for troops. The squadron even set new records for supply air drops, delivering around 260 bundles of various supplies in all.
"We're just very glad to be back after a successful mission," said SSgt. Zach Zieman,
"We're proud of him and his company that he worked with… We just want all of them, even my son to know, we're very proud," said military mother Judy King.
Both the Flying Jennies and the Golden Eagles are based out of Keesler Air Force Base. While deployed, the group also worked with a unit out of Little Rock, Arkansas.