GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A plane carrying more than 300 Seabees touched down in Gulfport Saturday afternoon. Members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven returned from a six month deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Friday, President Barack Obama announced he'll pull all troops out of Iraq by the end of August 2011.
Tears. Tears. Then more tears. Danielle Lamonica was among the friends and family who wept waiting for the Seabees to land at the Air Guard Base in Gulfport.
"Miserable without him," she said of her fiance. "I'm pregnant. He's not been here to see the pregnancy or nothing. It's been so hard. Oh, yes, lots and lots of worry. "
The homecoming comes six months after NMCB-7 deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Family members had mixed reactions to news the president plans to get all troops out of Iraq by 2011.
Melissa Smith's husband Steve is a Seabee. "would love to see them all come home but I do not want them to pull out. I just don't want to see chaos. They have a job to do and a job to finish."
"I think it's a great idea to reunite the troops with their families," said Kewanna Riley also a Seabee wife. "My husband has really missed out on a lot and I think it's really important for them to share in their loved ones lives and experiences."
Military officials say a full Iraqi pullout wouldn't mean the end of deployments since Seabees serve in humanitarian missions around the world. However, families say they hope not to have to say goodbye as often.
Seabee Crystal Portillo was greeted by her family who came all the way from Dallas.
"It's so good to be home to be with my family to see them and hug them again,"said Portillo. "I can't wait to spend time with them."
The battalion took on several construction projects during the deployment including security towers, helicopter landing zones and nearly 10 miles of roads.
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