RONKONKOMA - Friends, relatives and complete strangers turned out Saturday at MacArthur Airport to welcome home a local Marine.

Lance Cpl. Dominick Rodriguez, 19, hasn't been home in more than a year. The Marine rifleman has served for nearly seven months on a naval ship that traveled to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The William Floyd High School graduate was met by family, friends, local fire departments, the Patriot Guard Riders, and the Blue Star Mothers. He stepped off the plane and was greeted by cheering crowds carrying American flags.

"It's such a surprise to see all these people that care," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez will be home for the next two weeks, time his mother says she will cherish.

When asked why he does the job he does, Rodriguez told News 12, "So no one else has to."