169th Fighter Wing returns from southwest Asia - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

169th Fighter Wing returns from southwest Asia

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Two-hundred and fifty airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard are back on solid ground and home since leaving for southwest Asia three months ago.

It was Samantha Mann's husbands first deployment, which means it was her first time anxiously awaiting his return with her two little ones.

"What his dad told him is that he's off to get the bad guys," said Mann.

Mann said the hardest thing about the deployment has been the separation between her husband and their two children.

"It changes their day to day and they don't get enough credit for what they go through, so remember the military kids," said Mann.

But a few feet away from Samantha is a family who has experienced that same day to day change numerous times.

Sarah Murphy has seen her 27-year-old son deploy three times.

All of these families, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, wives, children, it doesn't matter, you're still not a family until you are together," said Murphy.

While Murphy has seen her son come and go, his girlfriend, also named Sarah, has not, and has offered support to her through the last couple months.

"We have had the countdown on this time, so we're ready, but she gets him first this time," said Murphy.

The 169th Fighter Wing is the largest fighter wing in the National Guard and has deployed three times since 2010.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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