Airmen return home from Baghdad - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Airmen return home from Baghdad

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

January  23, 2009

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

It was a day of tears and kisses.  Thirteen airmen from Moody Air Force Base returned home to Valdosta after a long six month deployment.

Andia Dinesen waited eagerly for her husband with their two young daughters.   "We're really excited to have him home," she says.  "My girls are excited. I just can't wait. I just want to squeeze him!"

The returning airmen served at Joint Base Balad, just outside of Baghdad, for the past six months.  They worked with the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group there.

Colonel Donald Derry of Moody Air Force Base says, "Homecomings are a great time for us.  It's kind of sad when all the folks deploy, but homecomings are when everybody's upbeat and motivation is very high.  All the families are fired up to see everybody."

They are fired up, and also filled with emotion. "Oh, I'll probably be in tears," says Melissa Gilliam when asked how it will feel to welcome her husband home.  "It's a good feeling, but you just get so many emotions, you don't know what to do."

As the heroes made their way into the arms of loved ones, they savored every moment.  After greeting his excited family, Captain Ian Dinesen said, "It's almost as good as watching them be born. It's great to see their smiling faces, hold their hands, and get hugs and kisses from my kids."

The homecomings will continue on Saturday when Moody Air Force Base welcomes nearly 200 airmen home.  These men and women are returning from Camp Bucca in Iraq, where they've been deployed for the last 4 months.

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