ALBANY, N.Y. - Thirteen Airman of the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing arrive back home at the Albany Airport Monday morning for a family reunion.
After their six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Al-Udied, Qatar, 13 Airmen were greeted by more than 100 family and friends at the Albany International Airport.
Loved ones arrived early, gathering at the observation deck with balloons, flowers and American flags at the ready. The anticipation hung thick around those waiting for a glimpse of their loved ones returning home.
"Six months is a long time when you have someone overseas in a danger zone, and it means the world to us to be here," said John Wallace, whose granddaughter Jamie Davis has been serving abroad.
First Sgt. Marlene Frankovic of the 109th Airlift Wing helped organize the homecoming, the first since she's been in command, to recognize their service as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Qatar.
"It's time you never get back once you're away from home, you don't know the ins and outs of the disposal breaking and the garbage overflowing," said Frankovic.