ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England (AFNEWS) --
More than 350 Airmen from across the Air Force, including about 80 from RAF Mildenhall, deployed Jan. 23 as part of Air and Space Expeditionary Force 5 and 6.
There are already more than 400 Airmen from RAF Mildenhall deployed to different locations in support of the war on terrorism, said Capt. Rashaan Smith of the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The deployment consisted of Airmen ranging from civil engineers to legal members and maintainers. Getting things in order was the No. 1 priority for some Airmen with families.
"I'm married now, where before (this deployment) I was single," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Tomaszewski who is assigned to the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron and leaving for his third deployment. "Setting everything up for my wife while I'm gone so she doesn't have to do so much was the biggest thing for me."
Some Airmen said they were bringing a few things along to make their down time at deployed locations seem a little more like home.
"I'm bringing letters from my kids," said Tech. Sgt. Gregory James of the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron from RAF Alconbury, who has five children and another due any day.
Sergeant Tomaszewski said he hopes to use his off time to improve his fitness.
"I'm bringing some recreational DVDs and books," he said. "I also plan to exercise a lot while I'm over there and get in better shape."
While those deploying had their eyes set on serving their country by serving the Air Force, those left behind were focused on how they could continue to keep the home running smoothly during the deployment.
"I'm sad, but I know this is the life we chose, so that's just how it goes," said Cristy Rios, wife of Senior Airman Michael Rios who is assigned to the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron. "I'll miss him, but I'm looking forward to trying to get home with my mom. I'll be proud of him."
Jennifer James, whose husband Sergeant James is also deploying, shared Mrs. Rios' sentiments.
"We're really glad he's deploying and supporting the war on terrorism," she said. "We're sad he won't be here for our daughter's birth, but my mother will be here to help, and there's a huge support group on base to help us while he's gone."
Master Sgt. John Harrill, the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, said his Airmen are ready for the assignment, and that they shouldn't worry about things at home.
"My folks are prepared and trained to do what they need to do," he said. "We've trained for it, and we're ready for it. I told all of them not to worry about things at home. I'm here to help and the squadron has people here to help. They just need to stay focused on the mission." Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)Click here to view the comments/letters page