JOPLIN, Mo. — It was an emotional morning at the Joplin Regional Airport.
Shortly after noon, 100 members of the Missouri National Guard 294th Engineering Company returned home after a ten-month deployment to Africa.
Dozens of people lined up to greet the men and women of the 294th and show them how much they were missed.
For Travis Spilde, this is the hardest part.
“This last little stretch, knowing that he’s in the United States, but not home yet,” said Travis Spilde, Jayden’s Dad.
Travis’ son Jayden is a part of the Missouri National Guard’s 294th Engineer Company.
Tuesday, he and about 100 other Guardsmen came home after a ten-month deployment to Africa.
“I’m so proud of him. I’m so proud of them all,” said Travis Spilde.
For families like Jayden’s, it was a long-awaited reunion.
For others, it was a chance to say “hello” for the first time.
“I was kind of excited, nervous. This is my first time meeting my four-month-old. It was a little emotional,” said Justin Christiansen, 294th Engineer Company.
Jayden says even though he knew his dad and others would be there to greet him, it was still an emotional moment.
“It finally felt real, you know. It’s exciting. It’s a different feeling to come home for the first time after so long,” said Jayden Spilde, 294th Engineer Company.
With an overwhelming amount of love for the returning heroes.
- One arrested, suspected drugs, weapons, & stolen motorcycle recovered
- GOP eyes vote on Biden impeachment inquiry to shore up authority
- Schools across U.S. give day off for 2024 solar eclipse
- ‘Don’t want to die’: Shannen Doherty reveals heartbreaking cancer news
- Supreme Court’s conservatives voice concerns about SEC’s in-house enforcement
“Even in the families that aren’t ours, you can tell there’s love throughout this entire group of ours,” said Justin Christiansen.
Now that he’s home, Justin says he plans on relaxing and spending time with his family.
But six-year-old Tatum may have something to say about that.
“The first thing when we get home, you play Barbies with me,” said Tatum Christiansen, Going to play Barbies with Justin.
“Yeah, I’ll play Barbies with the six-year-old here,” said Justin Christiansen.
“Don’t forget raspberries!” said Tatum Christiansen.
Meanwhile, Travis and Jayden have plans of their own.
“Probably food,” said Jayden Spilde.
“Wings and beer, wings and beer,” said Travis Spilde.
“That’s a good answer, too,” said Jayden Spilde.