Local troops deploy to the Middle East | News
DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- In a hangar full of families about to be split up, it wasn't hard to find the tears. They were being wiped off of children, wives and their husbands. The 94th Airlift Wing at Dobbins Air Reserve Base is headed to the Middle East for a 120 day deployment. The more than 100 members of the wing began leaving in waves last Friday. When they arrive, they'll be responsible for delivering "bullets and beans" directly to the troops, according to wing commander Col. Timothy Tarchick. They can land on dirt runways or drop equipment and paratroopers. But to get to their mission, they have to leave their families at home.
"It's an emotional event," Tarchick said. "You'll see some tears here when the airplanes taxi out."
The families of the men and women leaving lined the runway and waved their American flags. The C-130 Hercules came by them before taking off, and two men were hanging out of the top hatch of the plane waving their own flag. Then after the massive plane took off, it came back by the runway to dip its wings to wave a final goodbye. The families on the ground said they are planning to keep their minds off the absence.
"The kids are going to be involved in swimming and we'll do a lot of camping and stuff like that," said Kelly Martin. "But we're also going to be using our technology and Skyping dad to keep him present."
"I'll be missing him initially growing up, it's going to be pretty tough," said Tech Seargeant Brian Cochran of his young son. "But while I might not be there in person, hopefully I'll be able to see it over the internet."
Some families had never been through a deployment, others had experienced a half-dozen. The experienced ones told the newcomers to rely on family, friends and church support groups. They said if you don't concentrate on a countdown, the days will eventually move quickly.
"We'll try not to pay too much attention to the days," said Octavia James of her family's plans. "We're going to wait until he calls us and tells us he's on the way back-then we're going to make our signs and start getting ready for the party."