Proudly and with anticipation, the crowd of Welcome Home Soldier Volunteers, veterans, family and friends stood and waited, until finally, their Marine emerged from the terminal.
"I thought it was awesome that they came out to support me and support our troops," said Marine Corporal Jeremy Huff, 21, of Red Springs. "I means a lot."
Pat Huff, Cpl. Huff's mother, said she didn't find out until Thursday that her son was coming home. "I started praying three months ago that all my children would be home for Christmas, and they're all going to be home."
"[I'm] proud of what he's done--what he stands for--and I'm glad he's home," said Gary Huff, Cpl. Huff's father.
During the last eight months, Huff's military career has taken him to Iraq and Afghanistan. He celebrated his 21st birthday overseas.
He will be home for 7 days, and everyone has plans to help him make the most of his visit.
"I'm looking forward to my mom's cooking," he said.
"We haven't had a chance to talk about anything," said Pat Huff. "Just to have lengthy conversations would be nice."
Huff said he will try to spend as much time as he can with his family, especially the newest members. His new nephew is just shy of 3-weeks-old. His niece is barely one month old.
"He has to do another tour, and hopefully he'll survive that and we'll all survive it, and be back again for another Christmas," said Gary Huff.
Corporal Huff is expected to re-deploy to Afghanistan in June.