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159th Civil Engineering Squadron returns home

By Tech. Sgt. Sienna M. Schehr
NEW ORLEANS – After a safe and successful deployment, 16 Airmen from the 159th Civil Engineering Squadron were greeted with a hero’s welcome by their friends, family and volunteers from Soldiers’ Angels at New Orleans International Airport, Jan. 28.
“These men are heroes who have answered their nation’s call,” said Lt. Col. Thomas P. Sostarics, 159th Fighter Wing vice commander. “We are very proud of these airmen; what a great homecoming!”
As the Airmen received hugs and kisses from family and friends, a round of applause and loud cheers came from onlookers and other travelers.
“I’m so glad to see everyone here,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian G. Spitzer of Denham Springs. “I’m so glad to be home!”
“I missed my daddy and I am so happy he is home,” said Spitzer’s four-year-old daughter, Maya, as she gave her father a big hug and kiss.
In mid-September 2010, the Airmen volunteered to serve a four-month tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
While deployments are serious in nature, it was not all work and no play. In October, some of the Airmen were able to attend a concert provided by the USO to hear the musical talents of Aaron Lewis, lead singer for Staind.
“I’ve deployed three times and I’ve got to say, this was the best deployment by far,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth C. Plaisance of Marrero. “The Air Force takes good care of their Airmen.”
“We worked hard, but during our down time, the MWR had a lot to offer, as well as the USO,” he said.
The Airmen performed a multitude of functions while deployed to include: heavy equipment construction, base defense and entry control point operations and personal security of Ali Al Salem Air Base.
In addition to their security mission, two 159th CES heavy equipment apprentices, Airman 1st Class Hector Rivera from Hammond, and Airman Marco Scott of New Orleans, were selected to forward deploy to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. In one month, the Airmen racked up more than 200 hours of equipment operation.
The Louisiana Air National Guard’s 159th CES is located at the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans.

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