War on Terrorism

Monday, May 19, 2014

Florida, Texas Reservists return from deployment, reunite with families

482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/16/2014 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- Dozens of family members eagerly awaited the early morning return of their loved ones at the Sam Johnson Fitness Center May 9. More than 200 personnel from the 482nd Fighter Wing and the 301st Fighter Wing arrived here after completing a joint, eight-month deployment to Afghanistan.

During their deployment, Airmen worked to maintain and equip F-16C jets to provide intelligence and close air support for the International Security Assistance Force and other NATO forces. The deployment was a coordinated effort between Homestead's 482nd FW and the 301st FW from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.

Staff Sgt. Oniel Hernandez, a weapons loader assigned to Detachment 93, 495th Fighter Group at Homestead Air Reserve Base, said he was happy to be home, and couldn't wait to  wait to surprise the mothers on Mother's Day. They both live in Broward County .

Milly Hernandez, wife of Staff Sgt. Hernandez said, "It was torture waiting for him!"

While at the fitness center, military members received multiple briefings required for returning deployers. In addition to supporting personnel, wing leadership was there to welcome them back and to congratulate them on a job well done.

"I'm proud of what our Airmen accomplished in support of wartime operations in Afghanistan," said Col. Chris Funk, 482nd FW commander. "This is what we train for, this is our mission. Despite challenges and being separated from families, they provided unparalleled air support to keep troops on the ground safe."

Prior to returning, families and friends of the deployed Airmen decorated the newly-renovated fitness center with welcome posters and patriotic streamers. Additionally, refreshments were made available to returning Airmen and their families.

After their in-processing was completed, members quickly departed with their families to start their much deserved time-off. The wing is preparing to officially welcome returning deployers during a July Airmen Appreciation Day.

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