The roar of airplane engines signaled the return of three groups of Mississippi Air National guardsmen from a month-long mission.
"There's not enough words to express. I'm just thrilled," said Robin McDonald, whose husband just returned. "I'm glad to see him come home."
Commander of the Mississippi Air National Guard Gen. Harold Cross greeted the troops as they exited the planes. He said it's very special and appropriate that these defenders of freedom and democracy get to come home one day before Independence Day.
"There's been about 350 deployed this year to places like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain and all around, that have done exemplary work for the state of Mississippi, and their country," Cross said.
Gen. Cross said these are the best of the best in the air guard. Their jobs are tough, but they do them well and with pride. And that, says Cross, makes them stand out.
"We're proud of them," said Cross. "Everyone should be."
Col. Joe Spraggins, interim commander of the 186th, said there are still around 40 troops from the unit left on active duty. He hopes to see them home in the next few weeks.