HomeNewsArticle Display

‘Silent warriors’ return to Robins

Senior Airman Craig White, 78th Security Forces Squadron, greets his daughter Alexis, 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Senior Airman Craig White, 78th Security Forces Squadron, greets his daughter Alexis, 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Senior Airman Tyechia Rendell, 78th Security Forces Squadron returns to Robins following a deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Senior Airman Tyechia Rendell, 78th Security Forces Squadron returns to Robins following a deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Beunca Smith embraces her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeffery Smith, 78th Security Forces Squadron, when he returned to Robins from a deployment to Sather Air Base in Iraq.(U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Beunca Smith embraces her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeffery Smith, 78th Security Forces Squadron, when he returned to Robins from a deployment to Sather Air Base in Iraq.(U.S. Air Force photo by Amanda Creel)

Robins AFB, Ga. -- After taking several military aircraft through several different countries, 43 "silent warriors" from the 78th Security Forces finally made it home to Robins after a long charter bus ride from Baltimore Washington International Airport, Md.

"Coming home -- it was unbelievable," said Capt. Eric Horst, team leader. "We went back on a rotator aircraft into Germany where the plane broke. After some unique challenges, we got a flight out of there and into Baltimore, but unfortunately, because of the Final Four basketball tournament, we couldn't get a flight (into Atlanta)."

Captain Horst credits "some quick thinking folks back here at Robins," whose plan got them home.

"We did some creative load planning with all of our bags and we got back here after a 13 or 14 hour bus ride," he said.

The bus ride ended behind the security forces building where nearly 100 friends, family and Robins leaders waited anxiously to see them.

"The team has been deployed a little over six months, since September of last year," said Maj. Gregory Anderson, 78th Security Forces Squadron. "They're all back safe and sound. They did wonderful work over there and we are excited about getting them back (home)."

The wives and children waited with hand painted signs and glittery hair.

"All prayers were answered and everybody is coming home," said Tawny White, wife of Senior Airman Craig White. "The support from the 78th Security Forces has been awesome. It was unbelievable how much they (Key Spouse program) had gone through and did for us."

The security force teams were at Sather Air Base, Iraq, and performed many different missions in the war on terror..

"We secured the military side of the base, liaised with Army units for force protection, liaised with a contract security unit that takes care of the (Bagdad) airport and provided a very diverse mission," said Captain Horst. "We provided flightline security for coalition aircraft. I truly mean coalition; we had Iraqi aircraft transitioning in and out, Polish, British, Korean, and Japanese and none of these were permanently stationed at the base, making us twice as busy. We were the airlift hub and the personnel moving hub for all of Iraq."

The mission in Iraq also involved working beside coalition forces.

"I worked the gate and sometimes patrolled the flightline," said Senior Airman Tremource Malone, deployed security forces member. "I jointly worked with the Iraqis on a gate called Echo 4. They loved us over there."

The returning Airmen will now get to enjoy their friends and families for a couple of weeks before being rotated back into their normal jobs.