116th Air Control Wing security forces troops return home from Iraq

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Paul R. Ross
  • 116 ACW Public Affairs
Emmett Whitten's family could not have been happier when he arrived at Hartsfield Jackson airport in Atlanta, recently. 

The technical sergeant was one of eighteen 116th Air Control Wing security forces troops, who were met by family, friends and community members when they returned home after spending seven months in Iraq. 

"It's great to be home," said Tech. Sgt. Whitten. "Seven months is a long time to be away from your family." 

Being gone for a long period of time means you might come home to some changes. 

"My middle son has grown 7 inches," said the Perry, Ga. native. "That was quite a shock." 

Although leaving a wife and kids isn't what any husband or father wants to do, Tech. Sgt. Whitten knows how necessary his tasking in Iraq was. 

"We provided security for a regional airbase, said Tech. Sgt. Whitten. "Our job consisted of manning century towers and gates, providing mobile patrols and off-base combat patrols both on foot and in vehicles." 

Part of the reason the troops were able to maintain a high level of morale was the support back home. 

"The support back at our home unit really helped us," said Tech. Sgt. Whitten. "Heather McCullough (the 116th SF commander's wife) went out of her way. She made sure family members were informed." 

Tech. Sgt. Whitten found the deployment a time to mentor his lower ranking airmen. 

"The best thing from my time in Iraq was sharing lessons about leadership and life with the younger troops, said sergeant Whitten. 

One of the lower ranking troops whom Tech. Sgt. Whitten shared lessons with was Senior Airman Jamil Favors who went overseas at a difficult time in his life. 

"My mother passed away a few weeks before I left for Iraq," said SrA Favors. 

Being deployed was a good way for the airmen to start to recover from his mother, Christine Tinsley's, passing.

"The best thing about being overseas was the chance to get away from many of the surroundings that reminded me of my deceased mother," said Airmen Favors. "The worst thing was the intense heat and lack of precipitation." 

As for any deployment it is always a success when everyone returns home safe. 

"Nobody got hurt," said Tech. Sgt. Whitten. "For most of the troops this was their first deployment. It was a very good deployment." 

Senior Airman Favors hopes that every member of this country understands what our military members are accomplishing overseas. "I hope that the citizens of our great country rally behind and continue to support the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan whether they agree with us being there or not," said Airman Favors. "It is serious business over there and our troops need the support of the people back home. Our soldiers are sacrificing a lot for this country and they should be commended for there efforts. That goes for all branches of the service.