PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Those who serve our country often experience the sacrifice of being away from their families.
This week, one airman deployed in South Korea for six months happily returns home.
However, not all were aware that he would come home one month early.
"You just miss a whole year of their lives. It's like a newborn. A couple months later you can see a difference you know. It's the same with them," TSgt Miguel Figueroa, a U.S. Air Force Jet Engine Mechanic, said.
He served in Iraq in 2008, and again in South Korea, two different times after that.
Now, he's spent six months waiting to see them again.
"I've been looking forward [to this] for a long time. Now it's kind like ok now I'm nervous," Tsgt Figueroa said.
He, his wife, and his youngest waited for the other three who are convinced they're heading to a dentist appointment.
Finally, his daughter's tears aren't because they miss their dad.
"I was crying tears of joy," one daughter said.
The airman said he's forever grateful to one who keeps his girls safe, while he keeps all of us safe: his wife.
"The parents that stay behind, they have it the hardest. You know, they have to be mom and dad for the whole year. I couldn't do this without her. She's got my back, he said.
Tech sergeant Figueroa doesn't know when or if he will be deployed again.
He said for now, he will just enjoy the quality time with his family.
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