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Video, Photos Capture Hometown Hero's Return To Riverhead

A crowd turned out Wednesday night in Riverhead to welcome back U.S. Air Force Reserves Tech Staff Sgt. Frederick Ligon, of the 106th Rescue Wing, Air National Guard in Westhampton Beach.

Chanting "Fred, Fred, Fred," crowds of cheering family, friends and community members turned out in Riverhead Wednesday to welcome a hero home from Afghanistan.

Carrying signs that read "Welcome Home," the joyful group gathered on Route 58 in Riverhead to open their arms to U.S. Air Force Reserves Tech Staff Sgt. Frederick Ligon, of the 106th Rescue Wing, Air National Guard in Westhampton Beach.

When Ligon arrived in the parking lot by Staples, a loud cheer rose up from the crowd who'd lined Route 58, waving signs, honking their horns, and cheering. 

"This is what got me back," Ligon said, embracing his family. "Family. It doesn't get any better than this," Ligon said, holding his mother, family, and friends tightly. "There's no place like home. Once you go over there, you never take home for granted again."

As they waited for his homecoming, Ligon's family and friends reflected on Ligon's return to the United States.

His mother, Georgia Hale, said she was filled with happiness at her son's safe return — and said the seven months she'd waited for his homecoming had been marked by fear.  "I can't describe it," she said. "I had to stop watching CNN."

Asked what she'd do when she first saw her son, she said simply, "Cry."

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