17th Airlift Squadron returns from Southeast Asia deployment

      JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- More than 100 airmen from the 17th Airlift Squadron from Joint Base Charleston returned home from deployment on Tuesday.

      The squadron has been stationed in Southeast Asia for two months.

      "It's amazing. Not that you forget what it's like but, Skype and all the other text messages and stuff, you know you just can't beat it. There's nothing like it. It's amazing every time," said Frank and Alecia Maher, who have been married for only a year.

      Steve and Tess Kline have only been married for 10 months and are now celebrating their first successful deployment as a married couple.

      "It was hard but, we were supportive of eachother and he was there with me the whole way," said Tess Kline.

      The Klines laughed when asked what would be the first thing they would do once home, but preferred to keep the details after that a secret.

      One by one, airmen of the 17th Airlift Squadron walked the line of duty, from the plane into the arms of waiting loved ones.

      "It's intense," said Alecia Maher. "There's nothing like it.Butterflies and everything all over again."{}

      Tess Kline seemed to be worried as she waited for her husband to exit the plane.{}

      "I didn't think he was on the plane. I couldn'tsee him. He was like one of the last ones," Tess said.

      Airmen said they do not know how long they will be home, but they plan to savor every moment until duty calls again.

      While overseas, the squadron flew C-17 Globemaster IIIs on nearly 800 sorties and logged more than 1,800 combat hours. In all, the crews carried more than 19.5 million pounds of cargo, base officials reported Monday night.

      The airmen served under the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron during their deployment.