Security Forces personnel return from Afghanistan
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 3, 2012 1:46 PM
There were no children waving American flags -- no community leaders waiting with hands extended.
For more than a dozen members of the 4th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron, theirs was a more modest homecoming than those that have unfolded on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base every few days for the past week -- one marked with a simple speech from one of their leaders and embraces exchanged between brothers and sisters whose bonds had been forged during this particular deployment and others they had endured together.
But one airman knew she had more than comrades waiting for her late Monday evening -- that her three daughters had no idea Mommy was going to step off the bus that pulled into a parking lot just after 9 p.m.
She knew her emotions would get the best of her after more than seven months of separation.
And then it happened.
"Did you know Mommy was on the bus?" Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Fisher said, looking down at the smiling 5-year-old little girl in her arms.
"No," Amiah replied, craning her neck to find her 11-year-old sister. "Paige screamed."
When Wayne County residents look skyward at F-15E Strike Eagles streaking through the clouds, some forget about the men and women who quietly defend the installations they take flight from.
But 1st Lt. Kimberly Guest said her airmen made plenty of noise in Afghanistan -- that their efforts both inside and outside the wire is always noticed by combatant commanders.
"We get direct feedback and we've heard nothing but great things," she said. "They were working hard every day."
So she told the dozen-plus who returned Monday just how proud they had made their Air Force.
"We're very, very glad you're home," she said.
And she was quick to note that somewhere in Afghanistan, more 4th Fighter Wing defenders are currently continuing their humble work -- missions rarely rewarded with headlines and glamorous homecomings.
"The recognition is always appreciated, but we kind of like it this way," Guest said. "We just go about our business. ... These guys, they've been doing this ever since they can remember."