On Tuesday morning about 300 Seabees walked off a plane and into the open arms of friends and family. For the past seven months Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133's advance party has been away from home. The unit has been working in Guam as well as supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Cuba.
Three-year-old Matthew Ludwig and his brother Chris had their mother have shirts printed up with the word wanted and their daddy's picture underneath. After a long tour overseas, Walter Ludwig and hundreds of other Gulfport Seabees were coming home.
The boys' mother Joanna Ludwig said "It's kind of hard at times because the one is only 8 years old, so it's hard to really explain at his level and not give him too much information and make him worry."
Dozens of families waited for Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133 to arrive at the Air Guard base in Gulfport Tuesday morning. Some of the kids hadn't seen their fathers and mothers for seven months. When the plane touched down, e-mails and telephone calls gave way to long-awaited hugs and kisses. Some of the families say while the Seabees have been supporting the nation, they tried to support the Seabees.
"It's been tough," said Raymond Linzi, husband of a Seabee and father of five. "There's been a lot of crying times. A lot of tough times but we made it."
"I feel like he's defending our freedoms among all our other military members," said Heather Breitenbach, wife of a Seabee. "I need to be here just to support him and his family support him and just let him know that he's got family at home waiting for him."
Seabees like Heather's husband Eric say knowing their families where behind them made doing their jobs easier.
"Many late hours I was on the phone with her listening to this guy scream in the back ground and it kept me going," Eric Breitenbach said. "You can't describe it. You can't put it into words."
The group was the second wave of Seabees to return home. However, not all of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 has return to Gulfport. The augment unit is still on active duty and is serving in Puerto Rico.