PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It was a moment that words can’t truly explain as children of all ages saw their mothers and fathers come home Thursday night.

Husbands and wives shared a long hug and kiss after being apart for months.

“It’s been long. It has been hard and lonely. We had a good support system and I can’t even explain how happy we are that he’s home,” Meghan Connelly said.

Parents breathed a sigh of relief to know their kids and their heroes are home.

For these 36 airmen from the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township, landing at Pittsburgh International Airport is the moment that’s kept them going for the past four months while in southwest Asia.

“When the holiday’s hit, it got a little harder than normal,” Sgt. Brian Connelly said.

The airmen completed the deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Unit members served as pilots, flight engineers and loadmasters among other critical tasks.

Airmen and women were in the Arabian Gulf, Africa and Afghanistan.

Families without their loved ones tried to explain the impact of what it was like to be without them.

“It’s like a train wreck, couldn’t pronounce words right and stuff,” Katelyn Crowell said.

Thursday’s homecoming marks the first of two waves that by week’s end will return 82 Air Expeditionary Force Unit members home.


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