Thirteen Oklahoma Airmen Return Home Wednesday

Wednesday, October 3rd 2012, 9:18 pm
By: News 9

More than a dozen Oklahoma families welcomed home loved ones serving overseas, Wednesday.

It's always special anytime those who serve return home, and on Wednesday 13 airmen and women were reunited with their families and friends after a six-month deployment in Kuwait.

Applause broke out at Will Rogers International Airport Wednesday afternoon as 13 airmen and women with the 72nd Security Forces Squadron landed on Sooner soil. Staff Sgt. Nicole Longoria had to miss her daughter, Taliana's 4th birthday in September.

"The longest I've been gone without her was about two weeks, so this is the longest we've been separated, so it's hard on her a lot," Staff Sgt. Longoria says,"I'm just happy to be back."

This group of Oklahoma's finest has been stationed in southwest Asia in support of ongoing operations in Afghanistan, where one of Oklahoma's own, Pvt. 1st Class Jon Townsend of Claremore was killed three weeks ago during an ambush by some of the Afghan police officers he was helping to train.

Funeral services for Townsend were held Friday, where hundreds gathered to remember him for his faith and patriotism.

Townsend's death is a sobering reminder of the sacrifice Oklahomans continue to make fighting overseas, making every homecoming like this one as special as the last.

"I'm happy more than anything really, just to be back with her," Longoria said.

The remaining airmen with the 72nd Security Forces Squadron are due to return to Oklahoma within the next two months.