01/25/06 — Airmen are back from duty

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Airmen are back from duty

By Turner Walston
Published in News on January 25, 2006 2:05 PM

Cheers erupted and flags waved Tuesday afternoon as a bus carrying 14 members of the 4th Fighter Wing arrived at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Community Center. Family members embraced loved ones and airmen greeted their team members, who returned from four-month deployments overseas.

An hour before the bus arrived, a welcoming committee began gathering.

Sutton and Trevor King waved flags and thought about what restaurants their father, Airman 1st Class Alan King, would like to visit. Among his choices were Wendy's and Chick-fil-A, they said.

The parents of Staff Sgt. Jonathan Anderson were among the first to arrive. They drove more than 130 miles from Danville, Va., to see their son return from his second deployment.

Kitty Anderson made the trip to Goldsboro on Monday, ahead of her husband. She spent the day readying her son's apartment for his return.

"I never thought this day would actually get here," she said. "I'll probably just hold onto him and won't let go."

Steve Anderson said the family had delayed holiday festivities for his son's return. "We still have Christmas ready for him," he said. "He asked us to hold it for him, so we did."

Just after 4 p.m., the bus arrived.

To King, the best part was being back with his family.

"That's all that matters," he said, arms wrapped around his sons and wife, Michele.

A crew chief at Seymour Johnson, King provided force protection while deployed. For now, he said he is looking forward to family time.

"I'm going to take a shower and brush my teeth, and sit with my kids and my wife," he said.

Anderson also found his family. He said it meant a lot that they made the trip to see him return home.

"I feel great," Anderson said. "Not a lot of people's parents can come out."

Anderson said he was looking forward to seeing his new truck, new apartment and his girlfriend, not necessarily in that order.

Many of these members of Team Seymour provided services outside of their traditional jobs during their deployment. Some airmen accustomed to working on aircraft had to take on different responsibilities.

Anderson served on escort duty during his time in Iraq.

"I was scared to death the first few weeks," he said.

Working with great people made the deployment seem shorter, Anderson said.

"Long days, but short weeks," he said. "I made probably the best friends I've ever had."

Still, it is nice to be home.

"I can't wait to see my girlfriend," he said.