Hugs, kisses, tears and heartfelt signs marked the homecoming of a group of 20 Marines and Sailors to Camp Pendleton after a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.
The group of service members is part of the 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (known as the 1st ANGLICO). They arrived by bus Wednesday afternoon after flying into March Air Reserve Base in Riverside.
They were greeted by emotional and ecstatic spouses, girlfriends and children.
The Marines and Sailors were overjoyed, too.
“It feels amazing. It’s been a long time, so it’s a little weird being back, but I’m really glad being back with my loved ones,” said Marine Cpl. Billy Johnson.
The small group was on a special mission as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, working with coalition forces to help pinpoint the location of air strikes. They were also a key part in closing the mission.
Johnson described the group as close-knit.
"You're not only working with fellow Marines, but also your best friends and brothers," he said. "It's a very tight-knit team."
But now the elite group is home and loved ones are overjoyed.
“It still feels kind of like a dream,” said Melissa Veihl, a Marine spouse.