Wichita KS -- KAKE News Video
- The unit got a loud welcome home at Mid-Continent airport Sunday afternoon. It was the first time being welcomed home by the American Legion Riders for some of the airmen in the 184th, and they said it was an experience that couldn't be matched.
"This is going to mean the world to them," said Nancy Wells, a friend and member of the 184th.
"I expected friends and families, but not like this," said Senior Master Sgt. Donna Buckman, who just returned home from Kyrgyzstan.
Buckman has never experienced a welcome home with dozens of members of the ALR waiting to say thank you.
Sunday, Buckman and her airmen in the 184th got that experience.
"This coming home is probably one of the best," said Buckman.
"These guys come out for us all the time. It chokes you up a little bit," said Master Sgt. Robert Bledsoe, who also just returned home.
These members spent the last six months over seas with the bulk of that time in Kyrgyzstan.
Their duties included managing nearly 44,000 transients, units on the move, that included everyone from Army to Marine coalition forces. They served more than 700,000 meals and put up new tents and bunks to prepare for a surge of 17,000 people in the coming month.
"That's the big push President Obama has been talking about," said Buckman.
After dealing with a couple delays on the way home, including a rotator being hit by lightning before landing over seas, the group and their families said they're just happy to be home.
"I missed my kids. I missed my wife. They took care of everything while I was gone," said Bledsoe.
"It was long. Some days were hard,"Bledsoe said. "But the kids pulled together and they were awesome," said Dana Bledsoe, Robert's wife.
In just the five months that the unit's was in Kyrgyzstan, more than 42 coalition forces came through the area.