Local students receive special visit from Robins officer Published Feb. 17, 2012 By Jenny Gordon 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- A group of students from Feagin Mill Middle School in Warner Robins received a long-awaited visit from Lt. Col. Gene McFalls Feb. 8. While he was deployed to Iraq in 2011, the students, then sixth-graders, wrote letters to and drew pictures for McFalls, who in turn shared the special messages with fellow service members. "They were fantastic," said McFalls, Common Avionics Branch chief at Robins. "We were pen pals while I was gone." The students' teacher, Cheri Murray, who is currently an academic intervention teacher with Houston County schools, and her husband have been friends with the McFalls family for several years. When Murray learned he would be going overseas, she thought it would be a good idea for her students to keep in touch. "Sure enough, I received a box full of letters from all her kids," said McFalls. "They drew me pictures, and told me about themselves. One common theme they wrote was how great a teacher Ms. Murray was." "I would tell them where I was and all the countries I'd visited - and how much I appreciated them. It really meant a lot to me," he added. To show his appreciation, while in Baghdad McFalls flew a flag in Murray's honor over the United States Forces-Iraq headquarters at Al Faw Palace where he worked. During last week's visit, he presented the flag to the class, as well as a certificate of appreciation signed by the USF-I commander. McFalls, deployed from March until late September, was the electronic warfare coordination cell chief, responsible for all electronic warfare operations in Iraq.