By Maj. Corinna Moylan
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 302nd Airlift Wing welcomed home approximately 150 Airmen Sept. 18 from a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia. The wing’s Air Force Reservists and Active Duty personnel provided C-130 airlift support to U.S. Central Command operations.
While deployed, members of the 302nd Operations Group flew hundreds of airlift missions moving troops, wounded warriors and cargo. The deployed members of the 302nd Maintenance Group provided aircraft maintenance support ensuring fully mission capable C-130s in Southwest Asia.
“Once again this wing’s Airmen have succeeded in expertly performing all aspects of a challenging airlift mission in a demanding desert environment during the extreme heat of the summer months,” said Col. Jay Pittman, commander of the 302nd AW.
Reservist Capt. Daniel Lambrecht, a 731st Airlift Squadron pilot and wood worker in his civilian job, said that though this was his first deployment, he felt prepared.
“These guys set us up pretty well with knowing what to expect,” he said. “The unit as a group worked pretty well together and nobody was left behind. We were over there as a family. We train together and fight together.”
According to Lambrecht, heat, humidity, long hours, good camaraderie and a sense of fulfillment defined his deployment experience.
“We did some aeromedical evacuation missions. You leave from one of those missions and you always have a good sense of accomplishment because you are getting somebody back that needs it,” he said. “We hauled a lot of people and a lot of cargo,” That was the basis of a most of our missions. (We had) pretty long missions and long days and after you were done you might be tired, but you always had that sense of accomplishment and that felt good.”
Lambrecht said he would do it again, but ideally, not right away.
“It was definitely worth it. I would go again, but I’ll give it a little time yet to figure out who my family is again and they can do the same for me.”
Lambrecht’s wife and two year old son awaited his return.
“My wife looked great and got a special shirt that said ‘My Airman comes home today,”” he said.
His son wore a shirt that read “Get out of my way I get my daddy back today.”
“He recognized me right away because we had the opportunity to do a lot of face time while I was there. That’s what’s nice about today’s technology and today’s deployments,” Lambrecht said. “They set us up with communication back home. I was still in the loop on things so coming back home wasn’t too much of a shock. My son speaks English now instead of jibberish so that was different.”
For Tech. Sgt. Marie Lumives, a hydraulics specialist assigned to the 302nd Maintenance Squadron, this was her second deployment.
“My job is dealing with all of the hydraulics systems on our airframe,” she said. “I ended up taking over the specialist driver job so I spent most of the time driving around and helping with the launches and recoveries. That was a pretty good experience for me, stepping up in something different. It was definitely a learning experience.”
According to Lumives, her unit also worked well as a team.
“We did pretty outstanding. We had AMU (Aircraft Maintenance Unit) of the month twice,” she said.
Teamwork was not the only topic Lumives and Lambrecht agreed on. Heat and humidity was another common theme.
“This was a different environment. The temperatures were pretty high, usually over 100. What really got me on this deployment was the humidity,” she said. “We were walking through rocks and dirt all of the time. I don’t think I saw green for four months.”
Lumives works in sporting goods at Walmart for her full time job. Her husband and two dogs waited for her to come home.
“I Skyped with my husband regularly. My father was deployed back in the day and it was all mail or send an e-mail once in a while,” she said. “I have lots to take care of back at home now.”
This was the third deployment providing airlift support to Operation Enduring Freedom for the Colorado Air Force Reservists since 9/11 and one of dozens of OEF airlift deployments for the Reserve wing’s active duty associate squadron since 2010.
This deployment marked the first time the Peterson Air Force Base assigned Reserve 731st Airlift Squadron and Active Duty 52nd Airlift Squadron deployments coincided since the active duty unit was associated as part of the Reserve Wing in October 2009 through the U.S. Air Force’s Total Force Integration initiative.