By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anticipation is hard to contain when birthdays come and kids grow. That’s especially true when dad’s been overseas, doing his job for the country.

Nicole Tate and her 14-month-old daughter, Addie, were among the hundreds waiting Thursday for 150 members of the 934th Airlift Wing to return to Minnesota. Back in January, the unit was deployed to southwest Asia.

“We’re very excited,” Nicole said.

The long-awaited sight of four C-130 aircraft in perfect formation sent the families into a frenzy. The wings dipped in a traditional sign that the heroes are finally home.

Suddenly, the roaring of machines gave way to claps and cheers, hugs and kisses.

First Lt. Dan Tate will now get to celebrate Addie’s first birthday.

“It’s fantastic,” the C-130 pilot said. “Just seeing everybody…it’s a beautiful thing.”

For many of those returning, it’s but the latest in a long string of deployments.

For Sgt. Rachel Snook, the knowledge that she’s finally going home is the gold at the end of the rainbow.

“It’s a great feeling,” she said. “It’s amazing…you can’t describe it to be completely honest.”

The 934th is vital to the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The airlift wing’s primary mission is shuttling troops and supplies to bases across the region.

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