Eielson Airmen return from deployment

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. William Farrow
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Blurry eyes brightened as each Airman walked trough the doors of the joint mobility complex here at 1 a.m. Jan. 23 to the welcoming applause of awaiting friends, family and co-workers.

Tired from the long 36-hour flight trek home to Alaska, the midnight arrival ended the Airmen's months-long Air Expeditionary Force rotation in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

More than 400 Eielson AFB Airmen deployed during the recent rotation. The deployment consisted of Airmen ranging from maintainers to air traffic controllers to services members.

However, more than half the Airmen returning to Eielson AFB are members of the 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron.

No matter what duties the Airmen performed during their deployment, the awaiting family members were eager to get back to their normal routines.

"It has been a long four months and I'm just ready to get back to our normal life," said Jackie Madson, wife of Tech. Sgt. Brian Madson of the 354th LRS Petroleum, Oil and Lubrication Flight.

The 354th Fighter Wing commander not only praised the returning heroes, but also pointed out that deployments are sacrifices made by more than just the Airmen.

"They were separated from the comforts of home to perform the mission America needed them to perform in the war on terrorism," said Brig. Gen. David J. Scott, the 354th FW commander.

Whether it's spouses and children left behind at Eielson AFB or an Airman's parents in Georgia, deployments are never easy for those left behind waiting for the safe return of their loved ones, General Scott said.

"We owe each of these returning Airmen our gratitude and respect," General Scott said, "and we owe their families our deepest thanks. Our exceptional servicemen and women are able to perform at such a high level due in no small part to the outstanding level of support that their families provide year round. They're truly invaluable."

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