Hundreds of Oklahoma Air National Guardsmen returned home to Tulsa Monday morning. The 350 airmen with the 138th Fighter Wing spent the past three months deployed to Afghanistan.
How many more minutes? That's what several children were asking their families as they anxiously waited for the doors to the plane to open so their moms and dads could walk down the stairs and finally stand back on American soil.
The anticipation was killing Nathan Cook's two little boys, who nearly tackled him when their dad was finally in sight.
But Nathan was one of the lucky ones, his younger brother, Nick, was deployed with him.
"It's special. You get to deploy with your brothers, but when you get to deploy with your real brother, it's even better," Nathan said.
"It's like a weight lifted off your shoulders. I'm just happy to be here," Nick said.
But Nathan was happy to admit he's still the boss, even overseas in Afghanistan.
Their wives were happy to have them home, too.
But even for the seasoned military couples, more than three months away from home isn't easy.
"It never gets easier," said Chief Frank Dewan.
"It's one thing, we get to talk to him on video, but getting to hug him and hold his hand ... we've been married 26 years," said Frank’s wife Anna.
Three men with three different stories, but back on Sooner soil, all of them asking for the simple things in life.
"I plan on cooking hamburgers tonight," Frank said.
"I'm gonna take a nap! A long nap," said Nick.
"I'd love to go home and change into some civilian clothes, some regular clothes, and just be a real person," Nathan said.