22 Life-Affirming Photos Of Servicemen And Women Coming Home From Deployment

There is no better feeling.

1. The son who just couldn’t wait:

Louis DeLuca / Via The Dallas Morning News

Fort Worth, Texas

2. This young Marine holding his six-day-old daughter for the first time:

Erin Dietrich / Via thepioneerwoman.com

Camp Pendleton, California

3. The full-family hug:

Fort Hood, Texas

4. The twin boys who couldn’t be happier to see mom:

Casey Page / Via billingsgazette.com

Billings, Montana

5. The sergeant who couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life with his love:

Casey Page / Via billingsgazette.com

Billings, Montana

6. This solider kissing his son after a year-long deployment in Kuwait:

Bob Breidenbach / Via The Providence Journal

Warwick, Rhode Island

7. The look on this soldier’s face as his daughter waves a tiny American flag:

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

8. The college basketball player who was brought to tears when his brother surprised him by coming home early:

Champaign, Illinois

Illinois’ Fighting Illini’s Meyers Leonard had no idea his brother was home from deployment!

9. This Marine dad making silly faces minutes after meeting his daughter:

politico.com / Via AP

10. The Marine who spent seven months in Afghanistan waiting to propose to the love of his life:

dvidshub.net / Via Sgt Angel Galvan

Beaufort, South Carolina

11. The hospital corpsman who holds his son for the first time after a four-month submarine deployment:

Ray Narimatsu / Via kitsapsun.com

Kitsap, Washington

12. This Army sergeant kissing his fiancée for the first time in a year:

Chris Hondros / Via Getty Images

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

13. The young Marine infantryman who greets his wife after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan:

Adele Moore / Via amilitarystory.com

Camp Pendleton, California

14. This wounded veteran who embraces his daughter after being awarded a Purple Heart:

Ashley Taylor / Via ashleysellsflorida.com

Army SSG William Castillo’s Humvee was struck by an IED (improvised explosive device) in 2007. While under attack, he attempted to save his fellow soldiers, coming under enemy fire: Castillo was shot twice in the chest, once on on his right leg, and once on the top of his head. He miraculously survived (the only one in his vehicle to do so.)

15. The sailor who was finally able to propose to his boyfriend after a six-month deployment:

Kristina Young / Via AP

Groton, Connecticut

16. This young Marine amputee welcoming the rest of his brothers home on Thanksgiving:

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

17. This U.S. Marine corporal meeting his nephew for the first time:

Josh Peckler / Via Yuma Sun

Yuma, Arizona

18. This brave, cancer-stricken pup greeting her owner as he returns from deployment:

Eric Ralston’s 11-year-old dog Kermie was diagnosed with cancer shortly before Ralston left for an eight-month deployment. It didn’t seem like she would make it to see her owner return. When the sailor’s deployment was extended indefinitely, Ralston’s family was positive he’d never get to see Kermie again — except he was able to do just that. Kermie’s love for her owner kept her alive long enough to greet Ralston home from deployment.

19. This sergeant embracing his partner at homecoming, just five months after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed:

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

20. Born two months into her Marine dad’s deployment to Afghanistan, the moment 5-month-old Ayanna meets her father:

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

21. The family members who couldn’t wait for their solider to be dismissed — and the soldiers who couldn’t hold back smiles:

22. And the mother whose face perfectly captures the moment you realize your loved one is out of harm’s way:

Jessica Hill / Via AP

Windsor Locks, Connecticut

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