Wives and children, families and friends filled the waiting area at Fresno Yosemite International Airport just before noon on Friday. They brought home made banners and flags. Young and old alike, all waiting to welcome home more than a dozen members of the California Army National Guard.
Youngsters couldn't wait to hug their dad... running to him long before he reached his wife.
Chris Dewey said, "I was in Ballad, Iraq flying helicopters and supporting the 2nd 25th IDA Special Forces group in moving people around Iraq."
Dewey is home after back to back tours of duty. His youngest was a baby when it started, now he's two and a half. His wife is glad he's home.
Dewey wife said, "I'm just happy to have an extra set of hands around the house and to have our family together again. It's fantastic and it'll be nice to go home. I'm so excited to go home and be normal for a while."
Pa Xiong feels the same. Even with a large family's help, having her husband home is a relief for both of them. "It was a long year. It was a long emotional year, for all of us; all of our army wives. So, I'm just happy."
According to the Department of Defense, America's citizen soldiers make up 45 percent of those serving on active duty in the war on terror around the world. These soldiers were among them.
Ge Yang said, "It feels good to be home, it's been a long year and I worked real hard. All good to be safe, to be back with our families."
They arrived to the waiting arms of friends and family, all of them so glad that they are finally home from deployment.