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      Family, friends gather to welcome home heroes

      By Dean Stephensdstephens@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Family and friends came well armed with signs and with hearty hugs, all saved for the 560th Red Horse squadron. Held back by a thin red rope, they came to make up for lost time.

      "I think I'd like to play with him and also, we're going to have a party for him," said 6-year-old Brenya Hilson.

      They came to see their heroes. Men and women like Michael Grant and Senior Airman Blankenship. As the cheers rose, the doors opened, and the Red Horses galloped home from a six-month deployment.

      From comrades-in-arms to sons and daughters held in their arms.

      "It's absolutely amazing just to actually see him, hold them and wait for them to recognize you. It's amazing. It's the best thing in the world," said Senior Airman Michael Crump.

      Happy, excited. Just trying to catch up on where I left off the last six-months," said Senior Airman Quintin Scott.

      As their husbands fight for our freedom, the wives are the ones doing the heavy lifting back at home.

      "It's been difficult. We've had ups and downs like he said, but it's been great to be home with the kids. It's been great to support him and see him doing hard work and making a difference,"{}said Megan Crump.

      "Keep busy and they'll be home. They got to go do their job just like we all do. I'm glad he's home," said PJ Hilson.

      The balloons; the requests for a simple kiss; it's all part of this homecoming, but it was a son's call that put a wrap on this welcome home party as he saw his father he simply yelled, "Dad, Dad, Daddy."

      This was the first deployment for the squadron which was formed back in 2008.

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