U.S. Air Force photo / Master Sgt. Ben Mota

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. - Grissom rolled out the early morning red carpet to welcome home a special group of Reserve Citizen Airmen at the end of their long journey back home.

Three KC-135R Stratotankers and 18 Airmen from the 434th Air Refueling wing were greeted by friends, family and fellow Airmen Jan. 8, following a deployment to Southwest Asia.

“It’s always good when we can welcome our family home to Grissom,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th ARW commander. “We are grateful to have them home safely with us and their families.”

Family members were also greeted by a large group of resource providers there to help them reintegrate back into their daily lives.

“Our goal is to provide reintegration tools such as financial readiness and employment support to Airmen following their deployment,” said Stacey Pennington, Airman and Family Readiness community readiness consultant. “We also serve as a one-stop-shop for any concerns Airmen might have following their deployment.

“If we don’t have the resources on base, then we can serve as a liaison between outside organizations to ensure Airmen are getting the help they need,” added Pennington.

Grissom3

Tech. Sgt. Christina Howland, 434th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment NCOIC, hugs her mother, Karen Lile, after arriving at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind. Jan. 8, 2019. Howland was one of 18 Airmen and three KC-135s who returned home following a deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo / Master Sgt. Ben Mota)

The group of Airmen returning were the first of many groups who have recently deployed, or are preparing to deploy from one of the largest activations the base has had since 9/11.

“I hope everyone will keep those that have yet to return home in mind, as well as those that will be deploying soon,” he added. “Our Key Support and Family Readiness Teams are always ready to assist our Airmen and their families.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.