GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH Chad and Aubrey Christensen kiss after Chad's return to Robins Air Force Base from deployment with the Air Force 5th Combat Communications Group Monday night. The deployment was the first for the couple in their two year marriage. "It was challenging, but it was good," Chad said. "It was emotional," Aubrey said,"I had my up and down days."
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- About two dozen Robins troops who were among the last to leave Iraq were welcomed home Monday with salutes from their commanders, applause from their fellow airmen, and tears and hugs from their family members.
The 5th Combat Communications Group members arrived on a bus that had picked them up at the Atlanta airport and were dropped off at their Robins headquarters among the cheering welcome party and a throng of media.
Tech Sgt. Brian McDonald received a particularly emotional welcome from his children, Krista, 9, and Christian, 10, who weren’t told he was coming home. When he got off the bus they ran to him and wept in his arms for several minutes.
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McDonald’s unit was charged with shutting down operations at Sather Air Base in Baghdad. He said it was an honor to be among the last troops out of Iraq.
“We did a lot over the last nine years, so having the opportunity to shut it down and bring everyone home safe and sound was a wonderful feeling,” he said.
For more on this story, come back to macon.com and read Tuesday’s Telegraph.