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Home for the holidays: Connecticut Air National Guard troops return from deployment

Troops were in the horn of Africa for the last four months and have safely made it home in time for Christmas with their families

EAST GRANBY, Conn. — Air National Guard members returned home Tuesday morning, in time for Christmas with their families.

More than 50 airmen and women spent the last four months in the horn of Africa, serving our country by serving an ongoing mission.

Despite the freezing cold temperatures, the troops felt the warmest welcome home when they landed in East Granby.

"Oh I’m just so excited," said Jill McClenning, wiping tears from her eyes as she greeted her son, Jeff. 

The McClenning family had the reunion they'd been waiting for. Little William wasted no time, darting over to give his dad a big hug on the tarmac of the Connecticut Air National Guard base. 

Finally, in his dad's arms, it's what the whole family has been waiting to see. 

"I'm very excited, been waiting for this moment," said Amber, whose husband just came home. "Being alone and with little help is a lot so I’m excited he’s home and we’re going to be a family again and be a team."

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When James Russo saw his dad off the plane, he ran and gave him a big hug. 

"I am very excited, three kids without him for a few months has been interesting," said Julie Russo. 

It's a Christmas wish come true for their family, holding a sign that read "Dear Santa, I would like our daddy back."

"To be able to serve with the group of people I came with and to be here with family is unbelievable," said Joshua Russo, with the Connecticut Air National Guard. 

Families proudly waved American flags and watched their loved ones safely return home. 

With tears in their eyes, it shows the troops how loved they are. 

It's a love they certainly have been reminded of during the last few months. 

"We got letters from schools from families from veterans organizations so you really felt close to home even though you were away," said Russo. 

The good news doesn't end here; Later this week, 50 additional airmen and women will also be landing in Connecticut to be reunited with their families, just in time for the holidays. 

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


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