Troops Return From Iraq

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Families waited in anticipation Saturday for their loved ones who were arriving home from a 5 month tour in Iraq. More than 180 airmen were deployed for the mission and after speaking with several family members it was apparent they were missed.

Alice Shepard is the wife of one airmen, she said, "Long and emotional. I'm ready for him to come home." Alice's son, Jacob said, "It makes me feel very excited."

Families were overjoyed and brought welcome home signs but as the troops exited the bus to greet their families, few words could decribe their emotions.

Airmen Michael Shepard said, "It feels good, I'm glad I missed my family." Another Airmen, Denise Diaz, said, "Excited, I've been wating since before I left to come home to my husband."

Lt. COL Fredrick Defranza, commander of the entire troop, said they successfully accomplished their mission and he is pleased with their performances. "These are ordinary airmen who accomplished extraordinary events."

The airmen were told they may have to redeploy faster than expected and the commander says more than 70 percent of the troops volunteered to to head back to Iraq to defend the United States' freedom.

The 728th Air Squadron is on a rotating deployment. Right now the airmen who returned today are scheduled to leave out again in about four months.