After seven months apart, the cheers and embraces said it all. It was a happy homecoming at Selfridge Air National Guard Base where more than a dozen airmen were reunited with their families on Thursday.
"Being here, stepping on that ground, that U.S. soil, it's a feeling I really can't describe in words," said airman Rico Bates. "Just to be here and smell that clean air, it's an amazing feeling."
Members of the 127th Civil Engineering Squadron are just back from Afghanistan. They were in the Middle East building an airfield now being used to train Afghan pilots. The important work meant missing pivotal moments at home, such as the graduation of Lisha Lewis' youngest son.
"He graduated this year from high school. (I have) been waiting four years for it and missed it, but some friends of mine and family, they have it all," she said. "I was also sent some pictures where he went to prom. So, I was able to see those special moments by photo and things, but just not be there."
Technology also helped Kevin Burch see the birth of his son via Skype. Little Mason came six weeks early.
"It meant the world to me. Even though he wasn't there to hold my hand, he was still there encouraging me and supporting me," said Nicole Burch. "Just to be able to hear his voice and to see his face meant the world to me."
This was the first time dad and his expanded family got to meet face-to-face. He told FOX 2's Robin Murdoch it felt "amazing" to finally hold his new son.
"I just tried not to think about it because I had a mission to do, but actually being home now and me holding him, it's kind of hard to describe. I'm just really happy," said Kevin Burch.