After six deployments, homecoming still 'like Christmas'

Image 1 of 4

It's easy to see why Chip Crain's younger brother, Glenn, calls Chip his hero.

For 12 years, Chip has served Hillsborough County as a first responder, and for twice that long, he has served his country in the military.

After 24 years in the Air Force, where he served mostly as part of a medivac crew, Chip returned home Thursday night from his sixth, and what he says was his final, mission -- four months in Afghanistan and Qatar.

Glenn and their mother, Elaine, were filled with excitement as they waited for their hero to walk through the airport.

"It's like Christmas all over again,” said Glenn in anticipation. “Better than Christmas!" Elaine added.

After reuniting with his family, Chip said he’s glad to be back.

"It's good to be home. Good to be home. The beach, the weather -- I mean, come on, it's Florida,” he said.

And while he plans to call Hillsborough County home again for a little while, there may be another Florida spot he has his eye on.

“Hopefully living in the Keys somewhere on a boat," he said of future plans.

But before he does that, Chip will get back to work as a firefighter and paramedic, and back on the rugby field with his team, the St. Pete Pelicans.

Four other local airmen returned home alongside Crain.