JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — With eyes to the skies, families of more than 100 airmen wait.
“I’m ready to see him, ready for him to be at home,” William Clay said as he waiting for his son William Clay Jr. to return from his deployment in Southwest Asia.
It’s been 4 months since they’ve seen their loved one, and the last few minutes may be the hardest for Keisha Williams and her family.
“We’re just so excited, thank God that he’s come back safely to us along with the other airmen,” Williams said.
Safely and successfully.
“We’re so very proud of their accomplishments,” Col. Christopher Lay, the Commander of the 913th Airlift Group said.
Col. Lay said those airmen returning set a new standard during combat-coded deployment.
“Some the highest percentages of having their missions complete, which is phenomenal,” Col. Lay said.
But Sunday afternoon it was time for their heroes to be home.
“We’re ready to welcome him back, ready for him to see his son and all of his siblings,” Williams said.
As planes touch down and American flags wave in the wind, Williams and dozens of other families watch as airmen take their first steps back on Arkansas soil.
“It was emotional for us.”
It’s a moment that can’t be explained — but only experienced when your family is back in your arms and safe.