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Military heroes return to Long Island

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed home by his uncle Randy Botwinick upon his arrival to MacArthur Airport. Botwinick, along with 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing, returned home to MacArthur Airport from deployment in Afghanistan to a warm welcome from the community, friends and family. (Oct. 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

United States service members return home to Long Island.

Freeport, NY - Dec. 9, 2011 - Newsday/
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Freeport, NY - Dec. 9, 2011 - Newsday/ J. Conrad Williams Jr.: Emilio Pereira, 8, seeing his brother Sigfredo Arturo Velasquez for the first time since he left for the war in Afghanistan on Friday Dec. 9 at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport, NY. Newsday/ J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Left to right, Sonia Pereira, mother of both
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Left to right, Sonia Pereira, mother of both boys, U.S. Marine Sigfredo Arturo Velasquez, and Emilio Pereira, 8, leave Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport, NY, after the brothers reunited for the first time since Velasquez left for the war in Afghanistan. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Emilio Pereria sees his brother Sigfredo Arturo Velasquez
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Emilio Pereria sees his brother Sigfredo Arturo Velasquez for the first time since he left for the war in Afghanistan. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sicsredo
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sicsredo Arturo Valesquez, left, for the first time since he left for the war in Afghanistan. Valesquez and their mother, Sonia Pereira, surprised Emilio at his school, Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport on Friday. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sigfredo
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sigfredo Arturo Valasquez, left, for the first time since he left for the war in Afghanistan. Valesquez and their mother, Sonia Pereira, surprised Emilio at his school, Leo F. Giblyn School, in Freeport. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sigfredo
Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Sigfredo Arturo Valasquez, right, for the first time since he left for the war in Afghanistan. (Dec. 9, 2011)

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Lance
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Emilio Pereira, 8, center, sees his brother, Lance Cpl. Sigfredo Arturo Velasquez for the first time since the Marine left for the war in Afghanistan. (Dec. 9, 2011)

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed home upon his arrival to MacArthur Airport. Botwinick, along with 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing, returned home from deployment in Afghanistan to a warm welcome from the community, friends and family. (Oct. 21, 2011)

The family of SRA Tara Langella kiss and
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The family of SRA Tara Langella kiss and hug her upon her arrival to MacArthur Airport. Langella, along with 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing returned home from deployment in Afghanistan to a warm welcome from the community, friends and family. (Oct. 21, 2011)

Thirteen members of Security Forces Squadron of the
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Thirteen members of Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing returned home to Long Island MacArthur Airport from deployment in Afghanistan to a warm welcome from the community, friends and family. (Oct. 21, 2011)

Thirteen Members of Security Forces Squadron of the
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Thirteen Members of Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing returned home to Macarthur Airport from deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening. (Oct. 21, 2011)

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

SRA Ross Botwinick, 20, of Oceanside is welcomed home by his uncle Randy Botwinick upon his arrival to MacArthur Airport. Botwinick, along with 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing, returned home to MacArthur Airport from deployment in Afghanistan to a warm welcome from the community, friends and family. (Oct. 21, 2011)

Eric Auletta of the 106th Air National Guard
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Eric Auletta of the 106th Air National Guard greets his dog Mandi and his wife, Courtney, at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Auletta and six other members of his unit were given a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

Sean Evans of the 106th Air National Guard
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Sean Evans of the 106th Air National Guard is greeted by his girlfriend Sarah Moore of Mt. Sinai at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Evans, of Wading River, and six other members of his unit were given a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

Staff Sgt. Brian Hammel of the 106th Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Staff Sgt. Brian Hammel of the 106th Air National Guard is greeted by his daughter, Kelsey, 15, son, Liam, 9, and his wife, Joanne, at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Hammel, of West Babylon, and six other members of his unit were greeted to a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

Staff Sgt. Brian Hammel of the 106th Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Staff Sgt. Brian Hammel of the 106th Air National Guard is greeted by his daughter, Kelsey, 15, son, Liam, 9, and his wife, Joanne, at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Hammel, of West Babylon, and six other members of his unit were given a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

Sean Evans, left, and Brian Hammel of the
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Sean Evans, left, and Brian Hammel of the 106th Air National Guard spot their families as they arrive at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Evans, of Wading River, and Hammel of West Babylon, and five other members of their unit were given a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

Friends and family of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Friends and family of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Stephen D. Outcault, 21, a Smithtown East High School Graduate, lined up at Long Island MacArthur Airport to welcome the soldier home from deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Outcault had been stationed in Afghanistan since February 2011. He is on liberty for 20 days and will return to Afghanistan in November. (Oct. 14, 2011)

Choir boy turned U.S. Cavalry Scout returns from
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Choir boy turned U.S. Cavalry Scout returns from Afghanistan. Private Christopher Dorn of Medford with his parents Dawn and Thomas Melchiona after arriving at Long Island MacArthur Airport on leave.

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, can't believe
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, can't believe her eyes as she is greeted at Long Island MacArthur Airport for a "Hometown Hero's Welcome" as she returned from her first tour of duty in Iraq. Along with the greeting, The Patriot Guard Riders formed an honor guard of full-size flags through which the Erario walked upon arrival. With her are sisters, Laura Nunziata, upper right, Danielle Aiello, top center, Samantha Nunziata, 3, (carried by Kristen), and other family members.

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, can't believe
Photo Credit: Photo by Craig Ruttle

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, can't believe her eyes as she is greeted at Long Island MacArthur Airport for a "Hometown Hero's Welcome" as she returned from her first tour of duty in Iraq. Along with the greeting, The Patriot Guard Riders formed an honor guard of full-size flags through which the Erario walked upon arrival. With her are sisters, Laura Nunziata, upper right, Danielle Aiello, top center, Samantha Nunziata, 3, (carried by Kristen), and other family members.

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, leaves Long
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, leaves Long Island MacArthur Airport with Iron Shields rider Joseph Cornetta, Det., NYPD, as he and members of The Patriot Guard cyclists (and Iron Shields) leave for Normandy Drive in Holbrook, where Erario grew up, after she was greeted at Long Island MacArthur Airport for a "Hometown Hero's Welcome" as she returned from her first tour of duty in Iraq.

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, thanks members
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Staff Sgt Kristen M. Erario, USMC, thanks members of the Patriot Guard and Iron Shields cyclists as they leave Normandy Drive in Holbrook, where she grew up, after she was greeted at Long Island MacArthur Airport for a "Hometown Hero's Welcome" as she returned from her first tour of duty in Iraq. She is holding her niece Samantha Ninziata.

Staff Sgt. Kristen M. Erario, USMC, greets children
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Staff Sgt. Kristen M. Erario, USMC, greets children on Normandy Drive in Holbrook, where she grew up, after she was greeted at Long Island MacArthur Airport for a "Hometown Hero's Welcome" as she returned from her first tour of duty in Iraq. Along with the greeting, The Patriot Guard Riders formed an honor guard of full-size flags through which the Erario walked upon arrival. She rode home on a motorcycle with the greeting party.

Kelley Outcault is overcome with emotion as she
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Kelley Outcault is overcome with emotion as she reunites with her son, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Stephen D. Outcault, as he returns home from deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening. Outcault, 21, a Smithtown East High School Graduate, had been stationed in Afghanistan since February 2011. He is on liberty for 20 days and will return to Afghanistan in November. (Oct. 14, 2011)

Sean Evans, left, and Brian Hammel of the
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Sean Evans, left, and Brian Hammel of the 106th Air National Guard spot their families as they arrive at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Evans, of Wading River and Hammel of West Babylon, and five other members of their unit were given a "Hometown Hero" welcome following their return from Afghanistan. (Sept. 19, 2011)

After a one-year deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. Army
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

After a one-year deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Sgt. Cathrine Schmanski, right, returned to the arms of her husband Staff Sgt. Johnathan Schmanski and her mother-in-law Elizabeth Schmanski at a "Hometown Hero" welcome ceremony at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

After a one-year deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. Army
Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

After a one-year deployment in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Sgt. Cathrine Schmanski, right, returned to the arms of her husband Staff Sgt. Johnathan Schmanski at a "Hometown Hero" welcome ceremony at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Her mother-in-law Elizabeth Schmanski, of Riverhead, left, watched proudly. (Sept. 1, 2011)

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado
Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado Junior of Bellport. He arrived at Long Island MacArthur Airport to the sounds of a pipe band and many cheering people.

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado
Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado Junior of Bellport. He arrived at Long island MacArthur Airport to the sounds of a pipe band and many cheering people. One of his fans is his sister Casandra Mercado. (Aug. 6, 2011)

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado
Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Long Islanders welcome home Lance Corporal Anthony Mercado Junior of Bellport. He arrived at Long Island MacArthur Airport to the sounds of a pipe band and many cheering people. He recieved a Citation from Town of Islip Deputy Supervisor Gene Parrington and was given big hugs from his father Anthony Mercado Sr., right, and his mother Maria Mercado. (Aug. 6, 2011)

Senior Airman Michelle Sharpe, center, of the NY
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Senior Airman Michelle Sharpe, center, of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue wing, reacts to the welcome home reception as she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. (July 13, 2011)

Staff Sgt. Chris Pravato, left, presents Senior Airman
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Staff Sgt. Chris Pravato, left, presents Senior Airman Michelle Sharpe, right, of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue wing a citation from the town of Islip during a welcome home ceremony, as she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six-month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. (July 13, 2011)

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing hugs her sister Stacia Woolford while her husband Edward Kelly, also a member of the 106th rescue wing, and a FDNY firefighter, looks on, at a welcome home ceremony after she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Kelly completed a six-month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. (July 13, 2011)

Senior Airman Michelle Sharpe, right, of the NY
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Senior Airman Michelle Sharpe, right, of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue is greeted by Lucy Christiano, a ride captain with the Patriot Guard Riders, as she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six-month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. ( July 13, 2011)

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing is welcomed home by family friends and well wishers at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six-month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. (July 13, 2011)

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing kisses her husband Edward Kelly, also a member of the 106th rescue wing, and an FDNY firefighter, at a welcome home ceremony as she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six-month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. (July 13, 2011)

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Staf Sgt. Cari Kelly of the NY Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing embraces her husband Edward Kelly, also a member of the 106th rescue wing, and a FDNY firefighter, at a welcome home ceremony as she got off the plane at Long Island MacArthur Airport after completing a six month deployment with the US Air Force at Ali Al Salem Air Force Base in Kuwait in support of operation Enduring Freedom. July 13, 2011.

Sgt. Louie Varias is welcomed home by his
Photo Credit: Newsday/Frank Posillico

Sgt. Louie Varias is welcomed home by his family and local politicians at MacArthur Airport on Thursday. (July 7, 2011)

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: With his father, Matt
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: With his father, Matt Worrell on left, and mother, Karen on right, Army Specialist David Worrell is presented with a citaition from Gene Parrington, deputy supervisor and councilman from the Town of Islip at a hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq.

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Army Specialist David Worrell
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Army Specialist David Worrell hugs a member of the welcome contingent as he holds a citaition from the Town of Islip at a hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq.

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: On right, Matt Worrell
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: On right, Matt Worrell watches as his son, Army Specialist David Worrell gets hugs at a hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq. Newsday Photo / Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: On right, Army Specialist
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: On right, Army Specialist David Worrell walks with his parents, Matt and Karen, from the gate to the hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq. (In background is his brother Brendan pushing his girlfriend, Stephanie Buergers in the wheelchair).

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Members of the welcome
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Members of the welcome contingent clap and cheer as Army Specialist David Worrell arrives and is treated to a hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq.

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Army Specialist David Worrell
Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

July 2, 2011, Ronkonkoma: Army Specialist David Worrell with his sister Laura at the hometown welcome at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Worrell is from Hampton Bays and is back home after a year long deployment in Ramadi, Iraq.

Cpt. Matthew Lohmer of the United States Air
Photo Credit: Photo by T.C. McCarthy

Cpt. Matthew Lohmer of the United States Air Force walks out of a Long Island MacArthur Airport terminal after returning home from his sixth deployment to Afghanistan. Lohmer was greeted by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, Blue Star Mothers, Islip Deputy Supervisor Gene Parrington and several other officials from Long Island. (June 10, 2011)

Samantha Gray, 11, tightly hugs her father, Air
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

Samantha Gray, 11, tightly hugs her father, Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Kenneth Gray, after he returned home from a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan Saturday afternoon. Gray, who lives with his family in Commack, was welcomed at MacArthur Airport along with four other Air Force officers.

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Len Volpe tightly embraces
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Len Volpe tightly embraces his wife Kathy, as the couple reunite at MacArthur Airport Saturday afternoon. Volpe, who lives with his family in East Meadow, returned home from a six month tour of duty in Afghanistan Saturday afternoon. He was welcomed at MacArthur Airport along with four other Air Force officers.

SRA Joseph Occhineri hugs his girlfriend, Dana Kerekes
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

SRA Joseph Occhineri hugs his girlfriend, Dana Kerekes of Lindenhurst, upon his arrival home from deployment in Afghanistan Friday. Occhineri and 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing returned home to Macarthur Airport from deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening to a warm reception fro the community, friends, and family. (October 21, 2011)

Susanne Feuer of Staten Island welcomes her daughter
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Susanne Feuer of Staten Island welcomes her daughter SRA Sarah Ashraf, 23, home from deployment in Afghanistan at Macarthur Airport. Ashraf, along with 12 other Members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing were welcomed home by the community, friends, and family. (October 21, 2011)

Susanne Feuer of Staten Island welcomes her daughter
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

Susanne Feuer of Staten Island welcomes her daughter SRA Sarah Ashraf, 23, home from deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening at Macarthur Airport. Ashraf, along with 12 other Members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing were welcomed home by the community, friends, and family. (October 21, 2011)

Lori Marigliano smiles up at her husband SRA
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

Lori Marigliano smiles up at her husband SRA Robert Marigliano, as she welcomes him home From deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening at Macarthur Airport. Marigliano, along with 12 other Members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing returned home from deployment in Afghanistan Friday evening and were welcomed by the community, friends, and family. (October 21, 2011)

TSGT Kathleen Shephard, 31, of Greenwich, NY, meets
Photo Credit: Photo by Danielle Finkelstein

TSGT Kathleen Shephard, 31, of Greenwich, NY, meets her four-month-old niece Nora Kathleen Schwerd, for the first time, upon her arrival to Macarthur Airport Friday evening. The baby girl, who is named after Shephard, was born while Shephard was overseas. Shephard, along with 12 other members of the Security Forces Squadron of the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing were welcomed home by family and friends from deployment in Afghanistan Friday. (October 21, 2011)

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