Hundreds more come back to Cannon

CNJ Staff Photo: Eric Kluth
Julie Worthy shares a moment with her fiance Senior Airman Conner Coleman Tuesday on the flight line at Cannon Air force Base. Coleman just returned to Cannon after taking part in the war efforts overseas.

By Mike Linn

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — It was hard to tell if the tears of elated loved ones outnumbered the American flags and welcome home posters on Tuesday, when roughly 200 military airmen arrived home from deployment overseas.
Shouts of joy wafted in the air as the 747 Boeing aircraft got within 10 miles and in plain view of proud parents, overjoyed spouses and anxious children.
For Brian Marshall, husband of Airman 1st Class Rachael Marshall, having his wife back was overwhelming in more ways than one.
“I missed her so much,” Brian said. “She’s the missing link.”
When Rachael was deployed, Brian was playing Mr. Mom with their 11-month old daughter, Aaliyah.
“I could never fill her shoes, but I just miss her so much, and I try to emulate her so much. It hasn’t been easy but I got through it. She called and said ‘have you been changing the diapers?’ and she coached me through it.”
Rachael said she’s been waiting five months for the chance to see her family, tears rolling down her face as she held Aaliyah in her arms.
For Trevor Neuman, 6, only a three-foot-high barricade could deny him a quicker welcome for his father, Tech Sgt. David Neuman.
Like a horse at the starting gate, Trevor bounced around in giddy anticipation, screaming “Dad I’m over hear,” trying to get his attention.
“It’s nice to see the family again, it’s a heck of an experience,” said David, Trevor and wife Lisa by his side, and their 9-month-old daughter Tristen in his arms.
For 1st Lt. Erin Ferguson the homecoming was great, but she is especially looking forward to one more homecoming, that of her husband, who is still deployed.
“It’s wonderful to be home,” Ferguson said. “I can’t tell you how nice it was to have this kind of response for us. We could see the flags waving 5,000 feet up.”
Ferguson said her husband is in the process of cleaning up the mess from the war. She said he should be home in August sometime.
Capt. Dale Robertson, who was in charge of many of the Cannon airmen, said his personnel worked hard at securing freedom for Iraq.
“They did a excellent job, and that doesn’t even begin to cover it,” Robertson said. “True professionals through and through, even when the alarm started going off and we had to put our chem. gear on. The professionalism, the training, everything just came to a head and people were snapping to and doing what they needed to do and getting it done.”
His wife, Melissa Robertson, and their 6-year-old son, Lane, were there to welcome the captain home.
“It’s incredible,” Melissa said. “I didn’t think this day was going to come. For us it (Dale’s deployment) had its high and its lows, but we have a great support system here on the base, and spouses groups and the community was excellent, so we couldn’t ask for better support.”