Fighter Wing Returns Home

Monday, November 3rd 2008, 9:17 am
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The 138th Fighter Wing is back from Iraq. The Oklahoma Air National Guard unit deployed in September to Balad Air Base Iraq to provide air patrols targeting insurgents on the ground.

In all, 250 service members arrived home on Monday.  It was a short deployment, just 45 days, but came with all of the worry of sending a loved one off to a war.

The families waited on the flight line at the 138th Fighter Wing.  Finally, the charter plane landed with 250 service men and women on board.

"You still worry and when he called to let us know he wasn't in Iraq any more, it's a load off your mind.  It's a good feeling," said Airman's wife Kim Warren.

The families spent the last month and half worrying and most of the morning waiting to pick their loved one out of a crowd of camouflage.  For the families the last 45 days were long, but the final 45 minutes were excruciating.

Some families ran across the tarmac to hug their loved ones.

"We were lonely, so lonely, but we tried to keep in touch.  We're just happy to have him home," said Airman's wife Lauren Murray.

Staff Sergeant Lawrence Murray was on his first deployment to Iraq.

"I'm just happy to be home with my family again," said Staff Sergeant Lawrence Murray.

Amber Ishamel waited as long as anyone, first on the rope line.

"In our family, it makes us closer.  Definitely makes you realize what you have.  You don't realize what you have until it's gone," said Airman's wife Amber Ishmael.

Then, while other families hugged, she waited and waited.  Finally, her Airman arrived.

"Spend time with my family, that's all that's on my mind right now," said Tech Sergeant Doug Ishmael.

The 138th just completed its ninth combat deployment since 1996.  It was the second to Iraq.  They're likely to return, but they don't know when.

Related story:

5/20/2008  National Guard Unit Heading To Iraq