Connecticut airmen return home on Fourth of July - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut airmen return home on Fourth of July

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Connecticut airmen return home to East Granby Tuesday at noon. (WFSB) Connecticut airmen return home to East Granby Tuesday at noon. (WFSB)
EAST GRANBY, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Approximately 100 members of the Connecticut Air National Guard are starting to return home.

The first group from the Guard's 103rd Airlift Wing returned to the Bradley Air National Guard Base from deployment Tuesday.

Six months can seem like a life time.

Families waited anxiously to see their loved ones. Men and women who serve on the 103rd air wing for the National Guard.

They were in Southwest Asia for four to six months. The guard can't be more specific because some guardsmen are still there.

21-year-old Bailee Graveline cried when she saw her family.

"I am so proud of her. She did such a good job," her father Kurt Graveline said.

Although it was hard, Graveline is grateful for her opportunity to serve.

"It was a great opportunity for me to go. I learned a lot about my job. I learned a lot about the airforce. I wouldn't trade it for anything," Graveline said.

"We couldn't wait for her to come home," Graveline's step-mother Jodi Graveline said.

And it was a perfect time for a little romance. Jerry Zollo is Bailee's boyfriend. He also served in the guard.

They signed up together, but she got deployed first.

Zollo will get his turn next, but said he was worried about her while Graveline was away.

"It's always a celebration when you can bring everyone home safely. We are thankful we were able to do that. And we look forward to doing that the rest of the week and throughout the summer, bringing them home safely," National Guard Major Mike Peterson said.

Since February, 300 Connecticut airmen have been deployed. 200 have returned safely.

Master sergeant Daniel Taylor said it was 120 degrees where he was stationed, so Tuesday's warm day was just a breeze.

The families didn't stick around long, they were eager to go home and enjoy one of the best 4th of July's ever.

See photos of their return here.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.