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Last NJ Airmen return from Iraq
Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, center, is all smiles as he is reunited with his sister, Ashley Laramai, and his wife, Mary, right, Dec. 2, 2011 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., from a recent deployment to Iraq.

They have been counting the days until homecoming since the day they departed. And on Dec. 2, 2011 the wait ended for some family members of security forces Airmen from the 108th Wing.

Eight Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returned home from Iraq to hugs and kisses and were finally reunited with their loved ones at Joint Base McGuire- Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

The Airmen served for approximately six months, and they came home just in time for the holiday season as the drawdown of military troops from Iraq continues.

Although she Skyped at least once a week with her husband, Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, she was happy to finally have him back, said Mary Bunce, a Wrightstown resident.

"We'll plan a trip to the Caribbean next year," said Mary Bunce.

But for now they just want to enjoy their reunion and their fifth anniversary in February, said Mary Bunce.

In addition, the Airmen are very grateful to be home early for the holiday season.

"I am ecstatic!" said Senior Airman Keri Wanner. "It's all so surreal."

With the help of her father, Kevin, Wanner planned to surprise her family. "Nobody knows that I am back except my father," said Wanner. So she will be visiting her family around the state and giving them a holiday surprise.

"It's always nice to get our Airmen back from overseas," said Lt. Col. Brian Griefer, commander of the 108th SFS. "These are our missions but it feels good when they come back safely, especially from over there."

During their deployment in Iraq, the security forces Airmen conducted air base defense, which consisted of ensuring the security of the base; manning the gates for entry and exit into the base and perimeter patrols.


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Volume 35 Number 4 Staff / Information
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