Military News

Thursday, November 12, 2015

JBLE celebrates homecoming of 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings

by 2nd Lt. Mahalia Frost
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

11/9/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.  --
Editor's Note: Some last names have been withheld for security purposes.

Approximately 500 U.S. Air Force Airmen and families of the 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings celebrated the wings being reunited after a year's worth of combat missions, Nov. 6, at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

The celebration served as a way to show Airmen and their families how much the wings appreciated their personal sacrifices over the past year, said Col. Peter Fesler, 1st FW commander.

"We can't go anywhere if our families don't have a ... support structure while we're gone," said Fesler. "Building that community, involving them in this and thanking them for the effort they've put into this over the ... last 18 months of nearly continuous deployments is important to us."

During those 18 months, approximately 1,000 members of the 1st and 192nd FWs were assigned to United States Central Command as a part of a theater security package, providing support and stability to southwest Asia.

Technical Sergeant James, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons expediter, explained how this event truly showed him how much his leadership cared for him and his family.

"I've deployed before and my family has fallen off the radar while I was gone and I was initially [worried] that this would be a repeat," said James.  "I was pleasantly surprised that [this time] I really didn't have to worry about anything as far as my wife and kids being taken care of."

James' wife expressed similar sentiments, explaining her gratitude for the support she and her family received during the deployment.

"[Leadership and spouses] checked on us all the time; it was wonderful," said Mrs. James. "We felt like we were a family and that even though my husband was gone, we weren't left to ourselves."

In addition to showing appreciation for family support, the event also allowed Service members to reconnect with some of their deployed colleagues, giving them a chance to reflect on their experiences.

Captain Daniel, 94th Fighter Squadron pilot, said that staying focused and building camaraderie was essential to completing the wings' mission.

"While deployed, you're working with your brothers and sisters," said Capt. Daniel.  "You see everyone every day, and learning more about them personally and professionally makes us even more like a family."

Amidst the countless training exercises, high operations tempo and deployments, Fesler said the redeployers successfully executed their mission, and have made their home station very proud.  Much of that success rested on the notion of their families serving as the team's backbone, he said.

"Thank you for what you do for the wings here...what you're doing for the Air Force, and most importantly, thank you for what you're doing for your country," said Fesler.  "I'm truly proud of you."

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