An Airman from the 49th Security Forces Squadron says goodbye to his family before leaving for training and then a deployment April 24. The Airmen are set to return within six to 10 months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Mayo)
by Airman 1st Class Heather Stanton
49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/26/2007 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- More than 20 49th Airmen from the 49th Security Forces Squadron left Holloman April 24 on a bus to McGreggor Range, Texas, to train for an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
Family, friends and wing leadership were on hand to say farewell to the Airmen.
They will spend the next 30 days at McGregor Range, then another 30 days training in Kuwait before heading straight into Iraq, said Tech. Sergeant William Velez, 49 SFS. The training they are receiving is specific to the mission they will have while deployed.
"The training will entail detainee operations," said Sergeant Velez. "The Airmen will learn to control detainees in a 'less-than-lethal' way. They will also learn the rules of engagement for the country and their mission brief."
The reason the Airmen are going straight from training to the deployed location is the Air Force's new teaming concept, said Sergeant Velez. The concept gathers all who are involved in the mission, the commander, officers and Airmen, go to training together in order to get used to working with each other and to completely understand the mission together.
For some, this deployment is their first, but for others, it may seem like they just got back from another deployment, which they did.
A number of the Airmen on this deployment got back from the same location in December and are volunteers to go again.
Even though the Airmen will be gone for such an extended time, they still feel excited to be going.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said Tech. Sgt. Brady McCoy, 49 SFS. "It's what we do."
However, being away from family and friends is difficult for all involved.
The base and the Airman and Family Readiness Center make it easy on the loved ones left behind, said Sergeant McCoy. The AFRC gives out oil changes, teddy bears, Frisbees and DVDs about deployments to help those left at home. They also give phone cards to the deployed Airmen and morale calls to ensure everything is alright on both ends.
"Phone calls every day get me through the deployment," said Ms. Destiny Snell, newly-wed wife of Senior Airman Anthony Snell, 49 SFS. Airman Snell is one of the Airmen who got back in December.
The Airmen are set to come back to Holloman, safe and sound, in six to 10 months.