HomeNewsArticle Display

Families welcome home Security Forces Airmen

Staff Sgt. Dan Lawrence meets his son Ryan for the first time while his father Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Dan Lawrence looks on. All 19 of the wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Staff Sgt. Dan Lawrence meets his son Ryan for the first time while his father Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Dan Lawrence looks on. All 19 of the wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Tech. Sgt. Dion Hawkins gets a hero’s welcome from the Patriot Riders. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Tech. Sgt. Dion Hawkins gets a hero’s welcome from the Patriot Riders. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Tech. Sgt. Jose De Jesus is hugged by his wife Monique. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Tech. Sgt. Jose De Jesus is hugged by his wife Monique. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Staff Sgt. Haley Bia kisses her son Ethan. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Staff Sgt. Haley Bia kisses her son Ethan. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Staff Sgt. Juan Yebra holds his son Andres and his new grandson Henry. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Staff Sgt. Juan Yebra holds his son Andres and his new grandson Henry. All 19 of the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Security Forces members returned home safely Aug. 23 after six months in Iraq. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After serving half a year in Baghdad, Iraq, 19 members of the Security Forces Squadron here returned home Aug. 23. 

They were greeted in the 162nd Fighter Wing dining facility by family, friends, fellow Guardsmen and local media. 

Smiling faces and tears joy marked the occasion as returning Airmen were reunited with parents, spouses, children who had grown slightly since their departure and even babies born during their absence. 

For many of the members' families, the hardest part of the deployment was not being able to see their loved ones. 

Robin Perry, mother of Senior Airman Boradel 'Bo' Medrano, held the hand of John Perry, her husband, as he recalls with tears in his eyes the difficulties the parents faced during their daughter's deployment. 

"The support is toward the spouses, and rightfully so. Bo kept us up to date and [Senior Master Sgt. Jody Page] kept us in the loop," said John, a veteran of the Vietnam War. "The most challenging part was not seeing her even though we could talk to her." 

However, for some the opposite held true as the distance helped them reconnect emotionally. 

"It was like back when we were first dating; we were on the phone for hours talking about things we would not talk about if we were sitting at home everyday. It's opened up our relationship a little more - it's helped our relationship," said Tech. Sgt. Rita Milbourn, munitions specialist and wife of Senior Master Sgt. Mark Milbourn. 

Now that their service in Iraq is complete, the families of the returning members have their own plans for what these brave men and women will be doing. 

"His birthday is on Sept. 1 so we're going to celebrate. Just spend time; he missed four (children's) birthdays," said Jennifer, wife to Tech. Sgt. Dion Hawkins. 

"We love him and we're glad he's back," said Antonio, their 16-year-old son.