Photographing this deployment return was possibly one of my best moments as a photographer. It was one of those times where I honestly couldn’t believe I was there. Kiko has been deployed for the past four months, and it was his first deployment. Stephanie reached out to me out of unbelievable excitement for her man to finally come back home, knowing she couldn’t go without getting this big moment captured. I got to join their family in anticipation as their loved one was finally coming back.
Guys, I was SHAKING. I’ve never experienced anything like this, where the anticipation is so strong you can feel it all around you! Obviously, it wasn’t just Kiko and Stephanie’s family. There were families everywhere that were there, that were counting the days and hours until they could finally hug and kiss their person who’s been away. And the planes started landing, and you could feel it build up even more. Hearts were racing, people were jumping and trying to cross the line that we were told several times not to cross. And finally, people starting coming off the planes, heading towards their family members that were eagerly waiting for their arrival. The sun was so bright, it was hard to make out faces from far away. Stephanie got so excited when she saw Kiko, she ran up until a guard told her she had to get back to the grass. Finally, they were in close proximity for the first time in four months and she leaped into his arms. I loved getting to see the entire family embrace him, every one so unbelievably happy with his safe return. And I can’t believe I got to witness it.
Kiko, welcome home. Stephanie, I’m so glad you have your man back, and thank you for trusting me with this. I’m so honored.
While you’re here, take a look at the other unbelievable moments I’ve gotten to capture!