Defenders Return to the Fort

  • Published
  • By Tech.Sgt. Kurt Briner
  • 122nd Fighter Wing
The 122nd Fighter Wing welcomed home more than two-dozen members from the 122nd Security Forces Squadron, as they returned from a six-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, January 23, 2015 at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

Twenty-six Blacksnakes mobilized for this deployment and were assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The group spent one month in San Antonio conducting combat preparation, then transitioned to Qatar for six months.

During this deployment, 122nd Security Force members provided critical air base defense operations such as perimeter security and installation entry control. They also performed specialized 'fly away' security details protecting sensitive air cargo in transit through various areas of U.S. military operations overseas.

"Aircraft that fly into hostile areas take security forces with them to protect that aircraft while it's on the ground in a hostile area and when they get back up and fly away," described Major Chuck Goad, 122 SFS Squadron Commander.

To thank these Airmen for their service, a welcome home celebration took place at the Fort Wayne International Airport on January 23rd, and included family, friends, coworkers and representatives from USO Indiana and the Fort Wayne Base Community Council. Local news media also participated, covering the emotional reunion for nightly broadcast and early morning newspapers.

Being deployed over the holidays always presents unique challenges, but the modern use of video and interactive social media helped to lessen the burden.
"I'd sit and watch her trying different foods, switching to baby foods from formula" said Senior Airmen James Waltman, 122nd SFS Security Specialist. "And I got to watch her open some presents around Christmas so, you know, little things."

This was the thirteenth deployment in support of U.S. Military operations worldwide since 9/11 for the 122nd Security Force Squadron. In addition to several other locations, the unit had previously been assigned to operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Oman, and Kyrgyzstan.

Security Forces members prepare for global operations through extensive training in law enforcement, security, small arms weapons, and combat tactics. Perfecting these skills enables units to provide integrated defense to protect the people, property and resources of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Coalition partners. 

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