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Airmen return from deployments

Airman First Class Jonathan Marion, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, is welcomed home by friends and family at the Yokota Air Base Passenger Terminal after returning from deployment.

Airman First Class Jonathan Marion, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, is welcomed home by friends and family at the Yokota Air Base Passenger Terminal after returning from deployment.

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- In the early morning on Jan. 17, approximately 100 Airmen from Yokota Air Base were welcomed home by their families, friends and coworkers from deployments in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Most of the Airmen had been gone on 120-day orders to the Central Command area of operations since October, continuing the 374th Airlift Wing's long-standing support of the Air Expeditionary Forces that allow the Air Force to bring its capabilities to war fighting commanders in the field.

The event was at the Yokota Passenger Terminal where excited families streamed into the facility anxious to see their loved ones back home again.

"I'm excited (to have my husband home) and my daughter just got stationed here as well," said Kelly Swenson, 459th Airlift Squadron orderly room assistant and wife of Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Swenson from the 374th Communications Squadron. "We'll get to strengthen our bonds at Yokota."

The Swenson family currently has three members serving in the Air Force. Mrs. Swenson and Sergeant Swenson's daughter, Staff Sgt. Kristen Swenson, 374th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, is also stationed at Yokota AB and their son is currently deployed.

According to Mrs. Swenson, deployments are a hard part of life in the Air Force, but their determination to stay connected as a family has brought them through all kinds of hardships.

"It's a very unique experience," said Sergeant Swenson about having her father stationed at the same base and deployed during her assignment here. "It's good to know that other people care enough about him to ask me how he's doing."

Wing leaders were also there to welcome the Airmen as they stepped off the plane.

"I'm glad everyone's home," said Col. Paul Montgomery, 374th Airlift Wing vice commander.

Those simple words couldn't have rung any truer than with the family members who are now spending time, once again, with those they have missed for so long.