JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) More than 2,400 Marines and Sailors from Camp Lejeune were reunited with their friends and families after deploying overseas in December.
In 210 days, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit were in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
They participated in seven operations and ten exercises.
Fortunately, no combat-related casualties occurred.
Monday afternoon Sergeant Major Jay D. Williamson hugged his kids for the first time in seven months.
“It’s unexplainable –getting back, reuniting with the family and the kids and everything… I don’t think there’s a perfect word to express that,” said Williamson.
The father of eight was welcomed by his children and his pregnant wife.
“I thought I was going to miss the delivery but no I made it, she’s still pregnant so that’s good,” Williamson jokingly said.
The marine has had his fair share of deployments, but it never gets easier.
“It’s still a lot of unknown. You never know what the end results going to be,” said Williamson.
His wife Tina Williamson says it’s a challenge and “it never gets easier being without your loved one.”
Williamson’s son shed tears as he hugged his father once again.
“It was a giant sigh of relief and an emotional spill when I finally saw him,” said Phillip Hendrick, Williamson’s son.
Many other families expressed their emotions through posters reading ‘Best Day Ever’.
Officials say the last mission for these Marines is to reintegrate back into their families.