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Whiteman Airmen return from Guam

WHITEMAN AFB, MO -- More than 170 Airmen returned here Tuesday from a four-month deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. 

A contracted DC-10 aircraft carrying the returning members touched down on Whiteman's air field around 6:40 p.m. to an awaiting crowd of more than 250 family members, friends and co-workers. 

Senior Airman, Thomas Gruszczynski, 509th Maintenance Squadron Propulsion Flight,
was one of the members deployed as part of the B-2's part in the Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region. 

As a jet propulsion mechanic, Airman Gruszczynski was there to provide maintenance support for the four B-2 Stealth Bombers deployed to Guam. 

"I'm happy to be back home," Airman Gruszczynski said. He added that he hadn't really thought what he was going to do during his two weeks off other than rest and relax. "Now that I'm home, I am glad to have my vehicle back; I'm not going to miss walking everywhere." 

Another Whiteman member who returned on the evening flight was Master Sgt. David Gillingham, 509th Munitions Squadron. 

"Being back home and being with the family is great," Sergeant Gillingham said. "I can't wait to get back into a normal routine." 

While Sergeant Gillingham was glad to be back home, he was also proud of the support he, his troops and the Whiteman members provided for this deployment rotation.
"There were 56 ammo troops that supported 832 combined B-2 Stealth Bombers and F-15E Strike Eagle missions," he said. 

Sergeant Gillingham's wife, Debbie, is also proud and happy her husband is home.
"When I saw that plane land I thought, 'finally it's over; another round done,'" Mrs. Gillingham said. "I am so grateful that they are all home safe and sound. Like any other deployment, I was proud that my husband was there serving our county, but at the same time I was sad that he was gone." 

Now that these members are back, reintegrating back into everyday life is their next task, said Lt. Col. Lisa Moshier, 509th Mission Support Squadron commander, who was one of many commanders on the flight line here to greet the returning members Tuesday.
"Members returning from a deployment and their families must realize that reintegrating back into the home is a process not an event," Colonel Moshier said. "It takes time and there are certain dos and don'ts with bringing family members back together." 

Colonel Moshier added that there are several avenues to assist returning members and their families in the reintegration process including life skills, the base chaplains, the Airmen and Family Readiness Center and first sergeants. 

"I share with the rest of the base welcoming home our team members, and hope they have a safe and happy time with their families and friends," she said. 

Between now and the end of the Labor Day weekend, more than 30 Airmen, along with operation and maintenance equipment, and four B-2 Stealth Bombers are scheduled to return to Whiteman.