908th Airlift Wing Reservists Return from Deployment to Montgomery


By Heather VacLav

Four months seems like forever to the families of the 908th Airlift Wing in Montgomery.

About 100 operations and maintenance members were deployed to Southeast Asia in January, but Friday and Saturday they are coming home to Maxwell Air Force Base to reunite with their families.

For some air men and women, this is the first time being away from their loved ones. When the unit deployed January 10, 2013, Beth Smith could not be there to say goodbye to her husband, because she was nine months pregnant with their son Charles.

"He gets to meet him for the first time, I'm so excited," Smith said holding her newborn son.

"It feels like forever to get here, this week has been the longest week," she said, waiting with a group of about 100 people, many holding 'Welcome Home' signs.

Cries of joy overcame the plane's engines as the reservists landed, as Mayor Todd Strange welcomed each reservist home.

But as all the other families embraced, Beth Smith anxiously screened the crowd, unable to find her husband in the group off the first plane.

Once the second plane landed, she finally spotted him and called out to him. The look on her husband's face, Master Sgt. Timothy Smith, was sheer joy. He reached down to his 2-year old daughter and hugged her tightly, then stood up and hugged and kissed his wife. Then he looked at his newborn son, for the first time, and said "hi buddy" and kissed his forhead.

Tears were trickling down both Beth Smith and Sgt. Smith's faces, overjoyed to have their family together.

"It feels awesome, I hate that I couldnt be here [when Charles was born]," Sgt. Smith said. "But we wouldn't have been able to do it without my wife, as strong as she is, taking care of two youngins."

Sgt. Smith stared at his little boy, and said, "He looks like daddy," then took his daughter into his arms.

While the Smiths embraced, other families huddled together. Being with family is what the air men and women say coming home is all about


Saturday, the rest of the 908th Airlift Wing will be home, about 40 reservists will bring back the Wing's two C-130 air planes. During deployment, the 908th provided airlift support to U.S. Central Command, moving people and cargo.


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