Ninety Airmen return in three C-130s from Southwest Asia
By Staff Sgt. Jonathan Young, 133rd AW Public Affairs
/ Published July 16, 2012
St. Paul, Minn. -- Hundreds of family members and military members welcomed home ninety Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing, returning from deployments in Southwest Asia in three waves from July 13-16, 2012. "The profound effort and sacrifices of our deployed personnel and their families at home were instrumental in the successful completion of this mission," said Col. Greg Haase, 133rd Airlift Wing commander.
Each day the crowd was joined by members of the Patriot Guard holding American flags as they awaited the arrival of the Airman they've been missing. Amy Hanson was with her two girls, anxiously waiting to see her husband, Staff Sgt. Scott Hanson of the 133rd Maintenance Squadron. She explained how it is difficult it can be having him gone, but recognizes the importance of his work. She went on to say how helpful the Yellow Ribbon Network has been and, how family members help each other out while members are deployed. Hanson's eleven year-old daughter was especially excited for her dad to come home. "Then I won't have to do so many chores," she said.
Other family members explained how the technology allows them to keep in contact with their loved-ones during deployments. This is helpful for both the kids and adults alike, linking families together from thousands of miles away. One spouse mentioned between, Facebook, Skype, email, phone, etc. how it is relatively easy to keep in touch. This shows how the technology has come a long way since writing a letter once a week. It helps ease the burden of deployment slightly, but is still hard for everyone involved, spouses said.
The excitement never dulls during a welcome ceremony as families are reunited after months of being apart. Children lined the sidewalk with signs and small flags, holding them up as the planes did fly-overs before landing. Chief Master Sgt. Paul Kessler, Command Chief of the 133rd AW, said this is one of the best part of his jobs. "It's certainly a lot better than sending them off," he added.
"Most of the returning airmen deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in early March aboard three of the Wing's eight C-130 'Hercules' aircraft," said Maj. Ann Todd, 133rd AW Wing Executive Support Officer. "They forward-deployed in May to the Persian Gulf Region and were joined by 30 additional Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing at that time," she added.
Currently, about sixty Airmen remain deployed from the 133rd Airlift Wing across the world in support of U. s. operations, including aircrew and maintenance personnel, logistician, services personnel and others, said Todd. Many of these men and women are serving on their fifth, sixth or even more deployments and will return throughout the remainder of the year.