With tears and emotional embraces, the joy of the holiday season came a little early today for more than a hundred military families.
Master sergeant, John Borgos is among the more than 170 members of the D.C. Air Guard's 113th wing who safely returned home to Joint Base Andrews Friday morning after a two month deployment. The unit became the first Air Guard F-16 unit to conduct combat operations in Afghanistan.
The time away also seemed like longer than two months for the family of Staff Sergeant Raymond Schriner.
“It’s overwhelming, really overwhelming,” he says.
The soon to be father of three is happy to be back from his fourth deployment to celebrate this time of year with his family by his side.
“I just want to get a nice me with them,” he says. “I don’t care if we have to stop at McDonald’s. I just want an American meal.”
Members of this unit say they feel blessed, everyone who went over this time returned home safely.
They don’t know when their next trip overseas might happen, focused on being back with loved ones.
Tech Sergeant Kevin Archer, 35, had not just his wife Amy, son Trent, and daughter Madison greeting him but an extended family of Nam Knights, many of whom didn't get this kind of welcome when they came home.
“Just glad to have my brother home,” says Mike Manginell. “Very humbling to have guy like that supporting this country doing what he does I love him much.”
An all-volunteer force of Nam Knight riders, deputies from Prince George's and Calvert counties and a very large suburban escorted Archer all the way home.
It's a long ride from Afghanistan to North Beach, but after six deployments in 16 years, there may be not be a more memorable ride.
Archer says he doesn't plan to trade his home beach for the desert of Afghanistan any time soon but if he is asked, he says he will go back again.