Security Forces Return From Iraq

Master Sgt. Stan Drozdowski holds his son Talon Drozdowski for the very first time after returning from a six-month deployment to Iraq.  Drozdowski is a member of the 134 ARW Security Forces Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.  (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kendra M Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

Master Sgt. Stan Drozdowski holds his son Talon Drozdowski for the very first time after returning from a six-month deployment to Iraq. Drozdowski is a member of the 134 ARW Security Forces Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kendra M Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

Members of the 134 ARW Security Forces Squadron, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard, file off of a c-130 aircraft after returning home from a six-month deployment to Iraq.  (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kendra M Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs, Released by Capt. Gary Taft, 134 ARW PAO)

Members of the 134 ARW Security Forces Squadron, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard, file off of a c-130 aircraft after returning home from a six-month deployment to Iraq. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kendra M Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs, Released by Capt. Gary Taft, 134 ARW PAO)

McGhee-Tyson ANGB, TN --
     Tears can speak volumes when words won't come. Such was the case August 8th when the 134th Security Forces Squadron returned from a more than six month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

     Many friends and family members burst into tears as they greeted the returning airmen in the same place they had watched them leave from in early January.

     The returning troops arrived back at their departure point aboard a Nashville-based C-130 Hercules aircraft after having spent the night in Baltimore, Maryland.

     On that bitterly cold day in January, tears were shed and hugs were given followed by words of encouragement and hopes for a safe return. The loved ones gathered in front of the 134 CES Fire Department watched their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends board a commercial jet aircraft uncertain of what would happen over the coming months.

     Waiting for the arrival of the aircraft, family members spoke of how the time "just drug on" while counting the days until their loved ones would be home. Children playing in the corner of the fire station equipment bays shouted "Yay!" when told the plane was about to land.

     Once the plane had parked and Squadron Commander James Blanton had greeted Major General Terry M. Haston, the Adjutant General, it was time for the tears to flow.

     Returning airmen slowly walked toward the crowd searching for their families. Some casually walked up while others ran into the waiting arms of loved ones not seen in more than half a year. Small children ran to their returning parents with huge grins that let them know they were missed. The Patriot Guard riders stood tall proudly displaying American flags to welcome back the heroes and show their support.

     For the returning airmen, it was more than a chance to get reacquainted with family and friends. Walking off the plane signaled the end of a mission well done and the time to settle back into the daily routines outside of the combat zone.
 
     Some will return almost immediately to full-time positions at McGhee Tyson ANGB while others will take some time off before returning to their civilian jobs.