NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A group of airmen with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Security Forces returned to Charleston Thursday morning after months of deployment overseas.
The 15 airmen were deployed for six months in the Middle East, some were deployed longer than that.
One of the airmen, Robert Shanahan, had been deployed for more than nine months. Shanahan thought he was going to be greeted by his brother, but little did he know, his entire family was waiting for him.
"That young man has wanted that since he was three years old," Robert's father, William Shanahan, said. "He has always wanted to be in the military."
"Oh, my heart leaped," his mother, Margaret, said. "It was like the day he was born seeing him all over again."
"It's pretty shocking, emotionally overwhelming," Shanahan said of his return and the surprise. "I'm a man's man I don't like showing emotions but she got me."
On top of that, Shanahan's lieutenant colonel was there for his homecoming to surprise him with a promotion to second lieutenant.
"There are so many times we have to do tough things and this is the time we get to do a fun, memorable thing and see his career take off," Lt. Col. Thomas Klauer said.
Now that these men and women are finally home, they say it's time to finally relax.
"Knowing he's safe, there is no better feeling," William Shanahan said.
The 15 airmen are part of a larger group of 40 that are coming home this week.