100 Moody airmen return from Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

100 Moody airmen return from Iraq

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Friday morning, eager friends and relatives scanned the horizon, searching for the plane carrying 100 airmen back home.

Amanda Prima brought her two children to welcome their greatly missed father, Airman Jimmy Prima.  "(Our daughter) woke up this morning and said 'Da-Da...airplane...home!' So, she knew that he was coming, and she was ready to come get him," said Prima. 

Today, airmen from three separate squadrons returned home: The 41st Rescue Squadron, the 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron, and the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

As the plane touched down, the crowd cheered for the airmen who were finally home after three months at Balad Air Base, located just 40 miles north of Baghdad.  Emotions ran high.

Captain William Adams of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance GroupSquadron said, "It's just hard to describe--not seeing your family for three months. Then, coming back and seeing how happy they are to see you."

Airmen who had been to Iraq before said they could see progress being made. They were glad to be stationed out of Balad, as the base is already well established. "It wasn't bad from a base perspective. It was just tough because we missed all the holidays," Captain Adams explained.  "We missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's.  We missed a lot of holidays, so that made it a little tough."

The airmen are ready for the work that lies ahead of them.  Staff Sgt. Gregory Boggs of the 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron was latched on to by his two young sons and his young daughter.  "It feels great," said Boggs.  "I got my hands full, obviously, as soon as I walked off the bus, but I can't wait to spend time with the kids and play around a little bit."

Numerous airmen expressed that days like this are one of the biggest rewards for their heroic efforts.

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