SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) -- Taiya Jorgensen went into the Air Force after she graduated high school, and she has not been home since August.
KSFY photojournalist Sam Tastad was with her family, friends, and members of the Patriot Guard as they surprised her at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.
"I love you so much. Thanks for coming," said Airmen Taiya Jorgensen.
"When I left it was really hard because I was fresh out of high school and being back means a lot because Christmas has always been special for my family," said Taiya.
"I'll be here until January 2nd," said Taiya.
"It makes me happy because I haven't seen her for a long time and it's hard to take the responsibility of being the oldest one and to watch over her (his youngest sister), so it makes me happy to see my older sister," said Taiya's younger brother, Treyson.
"I did not expect any of this, though," said Taiya. "Well have you met your grandmother?," said Taiya's friend. "Yeah I know, I should have known," said Taiya.
"She was I think a little bit more than surprised to see all of our friends there from her soccer team, and all the people that represented Patriot Guard were there," said Taiya's grandfather, Gene Jorgensen.
"Thank you for coming. I am so proud of you," said Taiya's friend. "Thank you, we will definitely hang out," said Taiya.
"Not being to talk to family for eight and a half weeks was probably the hardest part. Getting letters was a make or break thing and having pictures from them and sending them birthday cards because I missed their birthdays. It was important," said Taiya.
"Yeah sorry, your flight was early. Glad you are back," said Taiya's friend.
"You have to answer your nations call. I knew college wasn't really for me, but I didn't know my direction. So, when my sister told me to look into the Air Force, I wasn't really sure, but in the end it worked out well," said Taiya.
"I love you. I am so happy you are home," said Taiya's friend.
"It's more than like the people I am with and the time I get to spend with them because once I leave to go back, I don't know when I will be home next. I will have three weeks until I graduate, and after that, I go to my duty station, and I am not sure when I will be home," said Taiya.
Taiya is heading back to the Air Force after Christmas.