It was 11 months into a 12-month deployment when time stopped for U.S. Navy Senior Chief Matt Metz.
"It's a huge relief to be back home," Matt said.
Matt spent the last year conducting missions in the Middle East. The Metz family has been separated many times during U.S. Navy Senior Chief's long career.
But this past deployment was different.
While her husband was a world away, Krista Metz and her cousin traveled to Las Vegas for the Route 91 Music Festival.
That's when a gunman opened fire on the festival, killing more than 50 and injuring more than 500 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
"Immediately we just ducked, got to the ground," Krista recalled. "We knew it was gunfire."
"We were scared, we were running, we didn't know where it was coming from, it was really scary," Krista added.
The pair was not injured in the shooting and managed to escape.
But for hours, Matt did not know if his wife had survived. Eventually, he saw a post on social media saying that the two had survived.
"It was just extremely stressful, and thank God they're all safe," he recalled.
When Matt first saw his wife again at the airport on Wednesday, the pair ran to greet each other, a reunion months in the making.
"I got a little emotional at first hugging him, but tried not to break down too much," Krista said.
But no reunion would be complete without seeing their nine-year-old daughter. So Matt and Krista got into the car and headed to Hill Creek Elementary in Santee, where Matt surprised his daughter in class.
The surprise took their daughter, Summer, completely off guard.
"I went over and I was like, what is then? Then I finally recognized him and I was very happy," she told NBC 7.