ST PAUL, Minn. — Thirteen members of the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing landed in St. Paul Wednesday morning about 60 days earlier than expected.
The airmen have been stationed in Kuwait ever since the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.
It's the video that's bound to make anyone shed a tear - the screams and the embrace of military families welcoming home their loved ones after deployment.
For Sgt. Brandon Dahl and his wife, Beth, it was their longest deployment yet.
"It's just really nice to have him back, especially in time for the holidays," said Beth.
News the group could come home that early was confirmed last week. It's a move not only surprising, but rare.
"It seemed too good to be true, so it's like, until I'm in the U.S. that I know I'm coming home early because things can change so quick," said Sgt. Dahl.
Sgt. Dahl and a dozen others provided base security in Kuwait. They also conducted joint training on operations during their tour and assisted with evacuating Afghan civilians.
At home, the 133rd Airlift Wing's Security Forces Squadron has taken the lead in multiple domestic operations in the Twin Cities, providing support to civil authorities during civil unrest.
"It's been a challenge for the unit and these folks stepped up and they served honorably overseas, so we're very happy to have them home before the holidays," said Lt. Col. Jason Hull.
Having already spent Thanksgiving apart, the Dahl's are ready to head home to Rosemount together, where they can expect a few more memorable reunions.
"We have three dogs at home who are going to be very excited to see him, so I think that's next on the agenda," said Beth.
A handful of the airmen didn't tell their families they were coming home Wednesday and held private reunions that came as an even bigger surprise.