165th Airlift Wing Returns

Thirty reservists with the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard are now back home with their families. The airmen received a hero's welcome home after two months in the Middle East.

For many of them, this is their second or third tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; however, for all of them, coming home is always the best part of the mission. Their families and friends, bundled up against the cold at Travis Air Field, cheered as the C-130 flew into view. It's a sight they waited since October to see. The plane is not exactly Santa's sleigh, but it carries a much better gift.

"It's great to be back," said Tech Sergeant Wayne Henninger, hugging his young daughter. "I'm very happy," added his wife, Maureen, "very happy. Ecstatic. We've been waiting for this day to come."

Major Brad Cousar hasn't seen his little girl since she was three months old. She's now five months. "A lot of changes," he said, taking her in his arms. "It feels wonderful to be home. Absolutely wonderful." "We're very excited that he's home before the holidays," added his wife, Hannah. "It's very much a treat and he gets to see his little girl."

Even though they know they could soon be called back to the Middle East, these airmen are enjoying the moments they have now with their families. "It feels great being back," explained Senior Master Sergeant Richard Dallow. "There's nothing like being back home."

More members of the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard are expected back tomorrow. Less than a week ago, almost two dozen men and women with the 165th were sent overseas to replace them in the Middle East.

Reported by Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com