Airmen and their families get ultimate Christmas gift

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PHOENIX -- Home for the holidays. It's more than just a cliché phrase for the families of 13 airmen who returned from overseas on Christmas Day. One airman described it as the best possible Christmas gift – a chance to spend the holidays with family.

Eager family members gathered at the terminal gate. Ellen Prescott brought a sign and a warning for her husband -- he better be ready for a big hug.

“[I’m going to give him] a really, really big one,” she said. “I already told him to prepare."

"It’s good, it’s wonderful [to have them home for the holidays],” said Mary Alltop, the mother of an airman. “She’s been gone for eight months."

There were quite a few tears flowing as the airmen made their way up the terminal to their loved ones.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Rachel Alltop said. “Not only being in the U.S., but seeing good people here supporting you.”

Newlyweds Bennie and Ellen Prescott got married seven months ago, just before Bennie was deployed.

"It was rough, it was rough,” Bennie said. “I usually can take care of different situations, but this one, this was probably the hardest thing for me to do.”

These men and women have spent the last seven months overseas in Iraq. They had the dangerous job of security detail at entry and exit points.

But now that they are home, the Christmas celebrations can get started.

"You have no idea -- it’s good to be back in the United States,” Rachel Alltop said. “It’s good to see everyone, especially on Christmas."

"If I don’t get anything else, this is the best Christmas present right here -- just seeing my wife as soon as I got off the plane,” Bennie Prescott added.