Deployed Troops Return Home for the Holidays

Beverly Cantrell - December 19, 2021 10:25 am

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KOKH)– It’s a privilege many overlook, being able to spend time with family during this season.

Around 120 Tinker airmen got an early Christmas gift Saturday afternoon when after around five months, they were able to come home for the holidays.

For Rhianna Kriska and her son Aiden, it’s been five long months of waiting.

“We just count down the days and wait for him to come home,” Kriska said. “To get through every day you just got to wake up and push through it and tell yourself that’s one day closer to seeing him.”

For both families at home and those overseas, the waiting gets difficult.

<p>It's a privilege many overlook, being able to spend time with family during this season. Around 120 Tinker airmen got an early Christmas gift Saturday afternoon when after around five months, they were able to come home for the holidays. (KOKH- David Young){/p}

“He left on July 19th,” Kriska said. “We are both active duty. So I think it’s been 152 days, when he left he was only 9 months old so he wasn’t walking yet. So that’s why we have the sign ‘out of my way I’m walking to daddy for the first time today.'”

There are a lot of sacrifices airmen have to make.

But for Captain Kevin Smith in the 552nd Canadian Detachment, the moments coming home make it all worth it.

“I had to take a moment,” Smith said. “It’s the first time coming home to a family after deployment. I had to take a moment and ask one of my colleagues to hang back with me, pretty emotional. I’ve been away from these guys for a long time.”

Colonel Kevin Coyle, the 552nd Air Control Wing Commander, said the airmen are returning home from southwest Asia, where they supported all kinds of operations.

“For the most part these airmen have the opportunity to see their families near-weekly via Facetime or other online methods,” Coyle said. “I think sometimes it’s a great thing, but it can be a challenge because you want to be a parent from 4,000 miles away and that’s difficult to do.”

For these military families, there’s no better gift than being present.

 

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