Alcoa (WVLT) - Forty-two Delta Marines are headed home to Knoxville after a ten-month deployment in Iraq.
They've been serving as combat engineers in the Al Anbar region, specializing in disarming roadside bombs.
Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has the latest.
Tonight, the anxiety is over for their families. Lots of people here waiting with built up anticipation. They have signs, flags, and smiles covering their faces as they prepare to welcome home their heroes with open arms.
"We painted the yard last time he came in, so we thought we'd do that again," military father Mike Simmons said.
It's the second time Sgt. Andrew Simmons is coming home from Iraq, and for his family, the excitement is overwhelming.
"I just think it's great and I think Andrew will think it's great too. He won't say a lot but he will like it," mother Holly Simmons said.
Spoken from a mother who knows her son well. Andrew packed up 10-months ago. His unit left in June and while part of the group has been back in the US for awhile in California, they wanted to wait for the others to get back from Iraq before heading home.
"They wanted to wait together and come home to Knoxville together because they left together so they're a pretty close group, I think," Mike said.
And today is the day. Andrew's family has been busy painting, tying...
"I think it's more therapy for us than he'll appreciate. But it's just a lot of fun," Mike said.
And smiling as they await their hero's homecoming.
"I just cannot wait to see that bus turn into the reserve unit," Holly said.
That bus should be pulling in within the hour. Lots of family and friends here to welcome these guys back to East Tennessee. And we're going to help welcome them home. Make sure you tune in Saturday night at six for a look at all the excitement when they see their families again for the first time.