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FORT WORTH Few people would chose to stand outside for an hour on a cold misty night, but on Sunday night at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, every person anxiously waiting wouldn't have dreamed of being anywhere else.

They were waiting for a plane carrying nearly 300 members of the 301st Fighter Wing after more than 100 days working on aircraft in Afghanistan.

'When the plane landed I did get emotional, because I know he's here,' said Janice McManaman, who was there waiting for her husband Patrick with their three boys. The last time her husband was home, their youngest son was just seven weeks old.

'I just want to see him and I want the baby to see him,' she said.

Slowly but surely, the airmen walked off the plane and into the loving arms of their families. There were a few tears, kisses, an engagement, and group hugs from dads with more kids than arms.

''I miss you Daddy,' that kind of stuff... it got to me this time,' said Mark Rude. He had deployed before, but this time was different.

'I didn't have three kids before, so this right here was a lot harder than I anticipated,' he said.

Which is why homecoming days are so sweet for both those who served... and those who stayed at home.

They can forget the pain of being apart, and focus on the joy of being back with the ones they love.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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