An openly gay marine has caused a stir online after sharing the traditional home-coming first kiss with his boyfriend in Hawaii.
Sgt Brandon Morgan of Oakdale, California, was captured as he jumped into the arms of boyfriend, reported by International Business Times to be called Dalan Wells.
The pair embraced and locked lips as they were reunited following the end of Morgan's Afghanistan tour with the US Marines.
They join a longstanding tradition of military personnel vying to share the ‘first kiss’ with their partners on returning home from operational tour.
The picture went viral after being posted on the Gay Marines Facebook page and popular gay blogs Joe.My.God and Towleroad, receiving more than 18,000 ‘likes’ and almost 4,000 comments since Saturday.
‘Welcome home and thank you for your service!’ wrote one commenter. ‘This is an awesome picture! Love knows no gender, race, creed or sexual preference.’
‘Welcome home Marine!’ wrote another. ‘Thank you for your service! As a veteran of the U.S. Army it brings tears to my eyes to see you be able to express your love without fear. God bless you and your BF. May you have many more years together!’
During his deployment Morgan recorded a Christmas message dedicated to ‘all my friends and family’ but without mention of Wells.
Responding to Facebook comments he described Wells as 'the giant in the photo' and quipped 'can't believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this'.
He added: ‘To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you.
‘We didn't do this to get famous, or something like that, we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.’
The photo of Sgt Morgan and his partner comes five months after the military's ban on openly gay service expired.
Their ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy that had banned openly gay men and women from serving in the US military ended last September
The pair have followed in the footsteps of Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of California and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles who in December became the first lesbian couple to share the traditional home coming first kiss.
They were seen embracing on the pier at Virginia Beach, Virginia after their ship docked following an 80-day deployment to the Caribbean