"It's something I've looked forward to since the day we left," said Tech Sgt. Chad Johnson of his return to Meridian Friday.
It has been almost four months to the day since thirteen members of the 186th Security Forces of the Mississippi Air National Guard left their loved ones behind, bound for the Middle East and a war that had not yet begun.
"It's great to be here," said Staff Sgt. Patrick Whaley. "I never thought I'd be so happy to be back in Meridian. It's a great feeling to see my family, my wife, it's a great feeling."
"You're fearful for their safety, but I just trusted in God and prayed every day and I knew that He would take care of him," said Jenniese Whaley. "I knew he'd bring him home safe to me."
But there are still seventeen members of the 186th in the Persian Gulf.
One of those is Staff Sgt. Lucky Underwood's wife. Underwood arrived home Friday, but it may still be several months before the entire family is reunited.
"It's hard. We've been separated for five months and it may be for about another five months," said Underwood. "It's hard, but I can't wait to see her home."
Members of the unit said family played a large role in keeping morale up during their deployment.
When they left four months ago, there were tears of sadness, but tears of joy came for the families as prayers were answered. Their loved ones returned home.