PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A group of 50 citizen airmen received a hero's welcome home at Patrick Air Force Base Wednesday when they returned from service in Afghanistan.
"We've been praying for this since the day he left," Eric Hernandez told News 6 as he hugged his son, Staff Sgt. Alexander Hernandez. "We're really, really happy. We're thrilled."
Other parents overwhelmed with joy included Operation Desert Storm veteran Marc Malavasic, a retired Air Force master sergeant and veteran of the 920th Rescue Wing.
Malavasic greeted his son, Staff Sgt. Andrew Malavasic.
"He's been over there and I've been a nervous wreck the whole time. And now he's home and we're all happy," Marc Malavasic said.
The 920th Rescue Wing group members saved lives during combat rescue operations overseas, according to the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
The reserve personnel performed air rescue missions using Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters.
The Wing has saved more than 3,000 lives in its 50-year history.
Fifteen Americans died last year fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan.