BATON ROUGE, La. - More than 100 National Guardsmen who have spent a year in Kuwait arrived home Tuesday morning to nothing but love, support and little voices they've been longing to hear.
The homecoming was at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport for members of the Louisiana National Guard 205th Engineer Battalion, based out of Bogalusa and Hammond. There were plenty of hugs and pictures with friends and family and a few 'love at first sights' for new babies meeting their mommies or daddies for the first time.
'Breathtaking,' said Tracy Jenkins, wife of a guardsman, 'I don't have any other words.'
'It's the second time and it never gets old, just being able to be here with our families and see them for the initial time after being gone for that 10 to 11 months,' said Sgt. 1st Class Travis Jenkins.
The excitement wasn't just about having the heroes home. It's having them home for Christmas.
'It's been long,' said wife LeAnna Gibbs. 'There's been some ups and downs but mostly we've made it through as a family. And that's what we do as a military family, we stay strong.'
'It's the best Christmas present ever,' said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rob Gibbs.
And it's one of the best ways the service members say they could have been welcomed home.
Tuesday's return was the official end of deployment for the 205th, meaning the service members are home for a while.