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Airmen Return Home

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Friends and family of 200 airmen celebrate their homecoming. The soldiers returned today from a recent deployment in Guam.

Members of the Air Force realize they may have to go overseas, but it's still never easy to say goodbye. Just ask families at Minot Air Force Base. 

"Well, it's kind of hard because we can't do a lot of things, like, I don't know, have a good family dinner.  I miss him a lot," says Austin Fisher.

"This is our second deployment, my first one working.  So, it was really difficult to struggle to juggle working and then childcare, things like that with him being gone," says military wife Amanda Kenny.

Back in March, airmen from the 5th Maintenance Group and the 23rd Bomb Squadron were deployed to Guam, which is part of the ongoing mission of the Air Force.

"We were able to fly all over the theater,"  saysLieutenant Colonel Brandon Parker, Minot Air Force 23rd Bomb Squadron Commander.  "We flew exercises.  We did training with the Navy, with our allies, and the whole team.  All the contributors made it a huge success."

And, after spending nearly six months in Guam, military families and friends anxiously awaited the arrival of their loved ones Sunday evening.

"When they come out, you know, as soon as they see us, you know, that we're here waiting for them and we're excited they are home," says military wife Tricia Thibodeau.

"I think everybody feels the same.  Everyone's just happy for everyone to be back home.  And, we're all happy for the other person that's getting their spouse back," says Kenny.

When airmen deploy overseas, Lt. Col. Parker says it adds a different dimension to the operation, because everyone has to pull together to make the mission happen.  From the maintenance team and operators, to all of the air crew and support, Lt. Col. Parker says he's proud of how the men and women carried out the continuous bomber presence in Guam.

"The ability we have to project our nation's power abroad, you really see that with this deployment.  These planes, these maintainers, what we do here is so important for our nation's security, for our allied security, and the Pacific Theater.  You just can't beat what we do here," says Lt. Col. Parker.

"Definitely, I would go back to Guam in a heartbeat," says Minot Airman Gui Garcia.  "I love that place."

For the Kenny family, that means life will finally return back to normal, at least for the time being.

"[We are going to] try to quickly get back into the hang of things and just enjoy having him back and spend some time together while he's off for those two weeks," says Kenny.

"Sleep," says Garcia.  "I want to sleep right now.  Just throw my bags down and just laying on my own bed."

"We look forward to getting back into the mission here at Minot and re-integrating into the team right here," says Lt. Col. Parker.

With the continuous commitment to stability and security in the Asian-Pacific Region, when the nation calls, airmen at Minot Air Force Base will be prepared and ready to go perform their mission.

The rotation in and out of the Western Pacific has been going on since 2004.  No word yet on when the next deployment will be.

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