Welcome home

  • Published
  • By Margie Arnold
  • 21st Services Squadron
Familiar faces and warm embraces were on the menu at a welcome home dinner for servicemembers recently returned from deployment Oct. 29 at the Club here.

The event recurring event is held by the 21st Space Wing. Among those attending were Capt. Jason Holder, Capt. Jason Thompson and Maj. Mark Wood, all newly home from a four-month deployment in southwest Asia.

"I went for the free dinner and didn't expect much more than that," Captain Holder said, "but I was impressed that it was such a nice event. Colonel [Jay] Raymond, Colonel [Manuel] Hidalgo and other commanders took time before the dinner to privately address us and express their appreciation. That meant a lot. And it turned out to be somewhat of a reunion of the folks I had deployed with."

Captain Thompson and Major Wood belong to the 21st Communication Squadron. Captain Holder is assigned to a detachment here whose home unit is in Los Angeles. The trio became friends during their months away from home, often talking about their experiences and families. 

When all three showed up at the welcome home dinner, it was a chance to talk about what happened since they've been home and exchange stories of their experiences with their families - for most of their families, at least. Captain Thompson's wife, who is also active duty military, was deployed to his location a week before he was scheduled to leave.

"We saw one another, briefly, because I worked days and she worked nights," Captain Thompson said.

Ms. Lydia Holder and Ms. Lisa Wood, however, got acquainted with each other through a deployed spouses dinner held several months ago, so that added another layer to the closeness their husbands have come to feel for one another. Both Major Wood and Captain Holder were on the same flight coming home, and their wives were waiting together at the airport terminal to welcome them home.

Captain Holder said his wife appreciated Colonels Raymond and Hidalgo and others attending the dinner for the spouses.

"For the commanders to be there was a very supportive gesture, and it made us feel good to hear that," he said.

Captain Holder appreciated the support of the sponsors, too, who contributed financial support for the dinner and a door prize. For his daughter, Alyssa, winning the door prize, an iPod Shuffle, made her day.

"Alyssa said that night that the family never wins anything, and then she won the door prize. She was really happy," Captain Holder said.

Since returning, the three have been adjusting to life at home and to their jobs at Peterson AFB.

"It's good not to see those guys all the time," Major Wood said jokingly.

"Yeah, we plan on keeping in touch," said Holder.