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139th Airlift Wing members provide support

Capt. Becki Restrepo kisses her nine month old baby, Leona Grace, goodbye just before her departure. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Shannon Bond) (RELEASED)

Capt. Becki Restrepo kisses her nine month old baby, Leona Grace, goodbye just before her departure. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Shannon Bond) (RELEASED)

St. Joseph -- Approximately 70 members of the 139th Airlift Wing deployed on an Air Expeditionary Force rotation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom May 1-3 from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
"Their mission is to carry people and supplies from major Air Force bases to smaller air strips in country," said Lt. Col. Randy Parlett, wing executive officer.
"It has been six years and six months since the first group was sent in support of this mission," said Col. Mike Pankau, vice commander of the 139th Airlift Wing. "Deployments are never easy. What they need to know is that we'll take care of their families while they're gone.
"Once you have been deployed for this mission, you know what to expect and you prepare for it," said Lt. Col. Coy Riecker, a pilot of the 180th Airlift Squadron who has served in the Air Force for 21 years. "We are doing the job we have prepared for.
"The Guard is a big family with friends back home," said Riecker. "It is a comfort to know someone here is willing to help the family."
Heidi Meyer, wife of 139th Maintenance Squadron commander Lt. Col. Gordon Meyer, said she prefers attending the group's departure even though it may be harder for her husband.
Heidi Meyer's advice for other family members is to use the resources made available to them and not to be afraid to ask for help.