Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

National Guard airmen return to Cheyenne from deployment

A C-130 Hercules aircraft belonging to the 153rd Airlift Wing. (Senior Airman Kylee Warren/ U.S. Air National Guard.)

Around 130 members of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing returned to their family and friends in Cheyenne on Tuesday after four months of deployment to Djibouti.

The first to return arrived in three C-130 Hercules aircraft, which flew in sync over Cheyenne Regional Airport before landing and taxiing to the Wyoming Air National Guard hangar.

Julie Kirby watched with her three children, who left school early Tuesday, as her husband, Ryan, helped land the second plane. Her son, Jensen, 11, said the first thing he is going to do is hug his dad, and he looks forward to getting hibachi with him later.

Family members and friends waited in the hangar while the Guard members participated in a briefing on integration back to life in Cheyenne.

Other children who waited not-so-patiently with homemade signs to welcome mom or dad home soon filled the large hangar with screams of excitement when they saw the airmen enter the room.

Returning mothers and fathers bent to their knees to greet their children with a hug before hoisting them up in their arms and joining their spouse.

Travis Wright waited with a rose and chocolates for the return of his wife, Brittney Cheatham. The couple have been married for a year, and Wright said their eight puppies at home are excited to see Cheatham.

“She just loves doing what she does, and I’m happy to support her in any way I can,” Wright said.

“These are the best days,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter, the Guard’s adjutant general. “When they’ve got to go away, it’s a little bit somber. But when they come back, and you see the airmen and their families reunited, it’s just a special experience. It makes you feel what a special group of people you have here.”

This was the first deployment of Wyoming Air National Guard members since a group went to Kuwait in 2020. This latest group was deployed to support a federal Air Force mission by serving the Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, a country in east Africa. Their mission there was intratheater lift, moving people and cargo throughout the U.S. African Command using C-130s.

The U.S. Department of Defense maintains a military presence in Djibouti to address a variety of security challenges, ranging from violent extremist organizations to U.S. strategic competitors, according to its website.

U.S. presence at Camp Lemonnier began in 2002, as part of the war on terror. The base now supports approximately 4,000 U.S., joint and allied forces military and civilian personnel and U.S. Department of Defense contractors. Djibouti is located at a strategic point in the Horn of Africa and is a key U.S. partner in security, regional stability and humanitarian efforts in the greater Horn, according to the U.S. embassy in Djibouti.

“On behalf of all these airmen, thanks to the people of Wyoming,” Porter said. “We have tremendous support, we really do, and the care packages they send, the letters they write, what they get from the schoolchildren let them know that they’re remembered and that what they’re doing over there is important. Thanks to everybody that continues to support our folks.”

He said the Wyoming Air National Guard is deploying 80 more airmen in April and more when the Army begins to deploy on Aug. 1. They will not be going to Djibouti, but various other locations and mostly to United States Central Command.


(c) 2024 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.