HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen return home in time for Christmas

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Seven Airmen belonging to the Security Force Squadron of the 139th Airlift Wing returned home Dec. 2 and 3 after providing internal security for Sather Air Base in Bagdad, Iraq, since July.

Family members and comrades greeted Chief Master Sgt. Gary L. Murphy, Master Sgt. Ted McGarry, Tech. Sgt. Tim Brown, Tech. Sgt. W. Scott Hirtler, Tech. Sgt. Nicole Martindell, Tech. Sgt. William A. McClendon and Staff Sgt. Lance Rawlings to welcome them home and to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Besides being thankful to be home for the upcoming holiday season, family members shared their own story.

Tech. Sgt. W. Scott Hirtler's family will be spending their holiday season in their new home that his wife of six years, Rachel E. Hirtler, found.

"While Scott was deployed, the kids (five year old twins) and I found a house we loved," said Rachel. "I emailed photos to Scott and he agreed."

On moving day, Rachel received plenty of muscle to complete her mission. After Tech. Sgt. Hirtler notified his command, his squadron pitched-in and moved the family's household to their new residency.

"I was surprised and delighted to have the help," said Rachel.

Chief Master Sgt. Gary L. Murphy's wife of 11 years, Jill Murphy, has been a key volunteer for the Wing's Family Readiness Program helping other family members to cope with deployment.

"It kept me busy helping others, primarily with the other wives," said Jill. "In turn, the experience helped me focus on other things other than him being gone."

Tech. Sgt. William A. McClendon's family was thankful for the modern day technology.

"We were able to communicate two or three times a week by phone or on Skype," said William E. McClendon, father of Tech. Sgt. McClendon. "This modern convenience made the separation easier on the family than previous deployments."

Chief Master Sgt. Gary L. Murphy's family appreciated the use of modern technology as well.

"The kids are older and with modern technologies, communication was easier," said Murphy. "But, you still had the separation from home and family members you had to deal with."

As the returning Airmen completed the required paperwork, all were eager to be relieved from duty and to go home simply, which is their most thankful gift this holiday season.