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Heroes Homecoming January 2012
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. –Tech. Sgt. David Babineau, a flight chief with the 66th Security Forces Squadron, is welcomed home by Lt. Gen. CR Davis, Electronic Systems Center commander, during a homecoming celebration at Jan. 12. The event officially welcomed home 54 Airmen who have returned from a deployment during the past six months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Airmen, families honored during Heroes Homecoming

Posted 1/18/2012   Updated 1/18/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


1/18/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- When Jonathan Elias, master of ceremonies during the Heroes Homecoming celebration, asked the Airmen if they were glad to be back home from deployment, it was met with a resounding "Hooah!"

When he asked family members, co-workers and friends if they were glad to have them back home, the hangar erupted in applause.

On Jan. 12 in the Aero Club Hangar the Heroes Homecoming event honored 54 Airmen, including one Department of Defense civilian as well as two military working dogs, who have returned home from deployments in the past six months. The celebration also honored family members who sacrificed while their spouse, father or mother was away.

"Think about it," said Elias, a WBZ-TV anchor and 66th Air Base Group honorary commander. "You're plucked out of your life...Think about all the things you miss.

"We are also proud of our family members that sacrifice so much while their loved ones are away," he said. "They deserve a huge applause."

Lt. Gen. CR Davis, Electronic Systems Center commander, thanked the troops and their families, as well.

"If you ask them, most of these Airmen would rather not have this attention, but I think it's important we do this," the general said. "At Hanscom we do have a very important mission for this country."

Davis noted that the honorees ranged in rank from airman 1st class to lieutenant colonel and served in a variety of roles, from contracting to "guarding the wire" or working in an Air Operations Center.

"You made a difference somewhere in someone's life" he said. "Now there is some degree of hope that did not exist before."

After the general's introduction, each Airman and their family were invited on stage. Davis presented the troops with a medallion and family members received dog tags from Col. Stacy L. Yike, 66th Air Base Group commander.

After the ceremony, the honorees and attendees were able to meet Medal of Honor recipient Navy Capt. Tom Hudner and some area sports stars. Attendees could take their picture with the Red Sox mascot, Wally, the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series trophies or the Celtics 2008 NBA Championship trophy.

Two Budweiser Clydesdale horses were brought into the hangar for all to see, touch and take photos with. Pizza and beverages were also available to all.

Senior Master Sgt. Donald Gonsalves, Joint Personal Property Shipping Office Northeast Det. 2 superintendent and one of the returning heroes, summed up the focus of the celebration.

"To have a celebration like this is important," he said. "These servicemembers put on their uniform every day. They raised their right hand and took an oath to defend our country. A lot of people have never been put in that situation and don't know the freedoms we give to them."

His wife, Bethanie, echoed his comments and added to the family member's point of view.

"When your loved one is deployed, you don't take the time to reflect on what they're doing," she said. "This celebration gives you the time to reflect and realize what your spouse did. I also loved to see my kids be recognized because they missed out on things, too."

Twice a year the base holds the celebration to honor the sacrifices made by military members who have returned from a deployment within the past six months. The next Heroes Homecoming will be held in the summer.



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