HILLSBORO, Mo. (KSDK) - A nearly 60-year-old Air Force veteran from Jefferson County has just returned from a final deployment in Iraq.
Master Sergeant Randy Hargis has served the military proudly for more than 30 years. On Sunday Hargis and his family were treated to a welcome home lunch at Hillsboro United Methodist Church.
Hargis has been deployed across the world over the last three decades. Now he's getting used to the idea of staying in one place for good.
"It's bittersweet that a portion of my life comes to a close," said Hargis. "But another one will open up with my family and my church here."
Although he's about to retire, Hargis' military family and the future of American troops in the Middle East still weighs heavily on his mind.
"There are still lots of military men and women stationed over there and the threats are serious," said Hargis. "Where I came from the Marines who were on base were constantly on alert at night."
Hargis says with extremist groups like ISIS making a push into Iraq and American troops continuing to withdraw, the region may be more dangerous now than at any point in recent years.
"My opinion is we need to get out of there and just go on about our business."
Hargis will turn 60 in February and officially retire from the military. After catching up on some family time he plans to start working for the USO and the Wounded Warrior project.
Hargis says he wants to help the men and women who continue to serve the military.