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      Local serviceman returns home to loved ones

      Friends and family welcome home Lt. Col. Christopher Johnson

      For Air Force Major Christopher Johnson his return home was all about handshakes and hugs.

      "It feels great," said Air Force Major Chris Johnson. "I've been back from the war since December, but this is the first time back in Kirksville seeing my mom and family around Green Castle, Green City for two years."

      A graduate of Kirksville High in 1984, Johnson returned back to the area to catch up with family and friends, and for his mother the time couldn't come soon enough.

      "You just go up and grab him, hug him, kiss him and tell him I'm so glad you're home because it was rough," said his mom Martha.

      So rough for her that at times she wouldn't even watch the news out of fear.

      It was also tough for his wife and three young kids.

      One-year-old, Gage.

      Four-year-old, Heath, and eight-year-old, Aleskia.

      "We wrote letters and we talked about it," said his wife Nickol. "I talked with the kids about daddy being gone and how long he'd be gone, and what we're going to do. You just adjust because you have to, and they did really well."

      With a stint in Afghanistan, the welcome he got back in his place of birth was a bit overwhelming.

      "Coming back it just puts a chill up your spine," he said. "The feelings of emotion, love and support and stuff that maybe you had to put back on the back burner while you were fighting the war. It all comes to surface. It's quite an emotional event."

      Johnson will be in town in a few more days then he'll soon report to Florida.

      He'll be the Director of Security for Air Force Special Operations Command.