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
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
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
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."