Family and friends gathered Friday evening at the Fort Smith Regional Airport to welcome home Master at Arms 3rd Class Omar Delgado.
"I can't wait to hug him," said Delgado's wife, Kristy Delgado. "I miss him very much."
Delgado returned from a 16 month deployment to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
"It was only supposed to be a year deployment, and they extended him twice," said Kristy.
After her husband's homecoming was delayed, Kristy said finding out that he was actually coming home and would be able to stay through Christmas was "the most exciting moment ever."
Despite the time spent away from his family, Delgado says he's proud to serve his country.
"It's great," he said. "It's an honor. It's a privilege. I love it. It's the best."
Delgado and his wife have three children - the youngest is just two years old. The military family is looking forward to spending the holidays together.
"To have him home for the holidays means everything to us," said Kristy. "It's such an amazing time. It's something really huge to be thankful for so I know that this year when we're doing our 'what we're thankful for,' he's definitely going to be the top of the list."
Delgado's leave is only temporary as he must report back for duty the day after Christmas. In the meantime, he's looking forward to sharing the holidays with his family and eating "a lot of turkey."