BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Family and friends gathered at the Tri-Cities Airport to welcome home US Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Katie Hale.

Hale’s family greeted her with numerous signs welcoming her back to the Tri-Cities. They watched her plane land on the tarmac and celebrated her return with cheering, applause and hugs.

Hale was deployed for six months in Japan. She’s a mechanic on Boeing P-8A Poseidon, which is stationed out of Jacksonville, Florida.

“Oh, it was fantastic,” said Hale. “It was great seeing everybody.”

Hale’s two-year-old daughter, Sophia, ran to her mother as she walked out of the terminal gates.

“I’m excited to just hang out with my daughter and catch up with her,” said Hale. “I know that she’s grown so much since I’ve been gone and just spend some time with family.”