Staff Sgt. Michael Garrett, 12th Flying Training Wing Security Forces, greets his wife, Lauri, upon returning from a six-month deployment to Eskan Village, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Beth Del Vecchio) (Photo by Staff Sgt. Beth Del Vecchio)
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
Eighteen Airmen reunited with family and friends Dec. 10, when a team of 12th Security Forces members returned from a six month deployment to Eskan Village, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the global war on terrorism.
While deployed, the group protected and secured the installation in support of the United States Military Training Mission and Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabia National Guard.
The team supported flying missions and maintained security for the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel there conducing training for the Saudi Government.
"We made Eskan Village the hardest target in the area of responsibility," said Airman 1st Class Ron Turner, Bravo flight team member.
Randolph team members, along with SF from other bases, protected approximately 750 coalition forces and set up deployment and redeployment plans for incoming and outgoing teams, said Tech. Sgt. Stephen Sparks, NCOIC of SF Plans and Programs.
"What we had when we got there and what they had when we left was as different as night and day," he said.
Sergeant Sparks was responsible for publishing 27 SF and Air Expeditionary Group instructions and plans, including the Integrated Base Defense Plan.
The group was led by Capt. Donna Porter, Bravo Flight commander, who not only led the flight but also taught security classes to female Saudi security guards at a nearby hospital.
"The key thing is that everyone came back, and they came back in one piece," she said.
Greeting the Airmen upon their return was Col. Richard Clark, 12th Flying Training Wing commander.
"I am extremely proud and grateful to you and your families for the sacrifices you all have made," Colonel Clark said.
Also greeting the Airmen were Maj. Christopher Bromen, 12th FTW SF commander, Col. James Sohan, Mission Support Group commander, Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Page, 12th FTW command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Michael Bilicki, SF manager.
Since the team has returned, the Airman and Family Readiness squadron has been helping them readjust to their normal lives.
"Reintegration is a process. Things have changed - there are changes within themselves, within their families, and within their work environments. It's a lot of readjustment," said Master Sgt. Todd Remington, Installation Personal and Family Readiness manager. "What we do here is make sure they return in a healthy manner, as opposed to being destructive to themselves and to others," said Remington.
"The community supported us tremendously by sending us letters," said Staff Sgt. Manuel A. Cervantez Jr., a team member. "It was a great deployment, but it sure is great to be home!"