SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Family, friends, spouses and coworkers anxiously awaited the return of the deployed 82nd Security Forces Squadron members to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 1, 2016.
A crowd of people who waited impatiently to see their loved ones step off the bus – it had been roughly six months since they deployed to the desert and this was the opportunity to make up for lost time.
“The hardest part was the nights,” said Andrea Fagnani, whose husband, Senior Airman Matthew Fagnani, returned from deployment. “But I always had support … it was all the squadron. The people here are awesome. Major Nice (82nd SFS operations officer), the first sergeant’s wife, our key spouse – who called me once a month – and even Major Wyatt (82nd SFS commander) called me and asked me how I was or if I needed anything.”
“It was really helpful to know that when my wife had to move into a new house, I really didn’t have to wonder if people from the squadron were going to be able to help,” said Senior Airman Fagnani. “I just had to say, ‘hey, tell someone from the squadron that you need help,’ and I knew they would pitch in and she could rely on them.”
Staff Sgt. Genevie Navarro, 361st Training Squadron military training leader, also reunited with her husband that day. Her and their two children could hardly wait to see their beloved husband and father, but the children were unaware of his arrival and were thrilled when he surprised them at school.
“I had butterflies,” she said. “We’re going to go spend some quality time together, just us two, and he’s been spending some time with the kids during his R and R (rest and recuperation time) just to bond with them.”
This was Tech. Sgt. Robert Navarro’s third deployment since 2009, but they said that doesn’t make it any easier.
Missing both their children’s birthdays was one of the most difficult times for Staff Sgt. Navarro. “It’s always hard,” she said. “Just like the first tooth, my daughter turned 10; he wasn’t there for that – my son turned seven; he wasn’t there for that – but those are usually always the hardest things to miss.”
Even though he wasn’t able to physically be there, she said today’s advancements in technology, made it a little bit easier to cope.
“I would face-time him pretty much every single night,” she continued. “That alone made it so much easier … I’m just excited to be able to see him and know that he’s home safe.”
The squadron deployed nearly 25 Airmen in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Southwest Asia. These Airmen provided base defense, weapons system security, force protection and security for nearly two to three billion dollars in assets.
“I’d like to say to all the defenders that deployed and served their country, job well done and thanks for doing all the things you do each day, and taking it to the next level overseas,” said Senior Master Sgt. Willie Curry, 82nd SFS manager. “Having every single Airman defender from the 82nd Security Forces Squadron return home safely, with awards and just shining each and every day for six months – I say thank you, and welcome home.”