Fort Calhoun, Neb. --
A welcome home event for Nebraska Elementary School Principal and Iowa Air National Guard First Sergeant Drew Wagner took place at his school in Fort Calhoun, Neb. this week. Wagner returned home to Fort Calhoun, following a six-month-long deployment with the U. S. Air Force.
Wagner said that in a small town like Fort Calhoun the deployment involved everyone in the community.
“They wrapped us up in with a big hug while I was away,” Wagner said, “there is nothing like coming home to a warm welcome like this.”
During his deployment Wagner was stationed at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates where he had been serving as the First Sergeant for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.
Wagner deployed to Al Dhafra last fall as a member of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing based in Sioux City, Iowa. Wagner was one of a group of around 50 Iowa Air National Guard members from Sioux City who are now returning from the Arabian Peninsula where they had been deployed.
Wagner works full time as the principle in Fort Calhoun but has been serving a member of the Iowa Air Guard for 20 years, where he is assigned as one of the Wing’s First Sergeants.
Wagner said his jobs as a school principle and as a First Sergeant have always been are complementary. He added that the deployment experience will ultimately help him be more successful at both jobs.
“People are our business, we want to make sure we take care of people,” Wagner said, “My philosophy is ‘be there’ when your Airmen need you.”
This was Wagner’s first overseas deployment since joining the Air National Guard. Even though they deployed separately he was met by over a dozen other 185th unit members who were all serving in Al Dhafra as part of the Air National Guard’s reserve component deployment period since last fall.
Wagner said while he is thrilled to be home he plans to be on military leave through the end of the current school year. He said he plans to resume his duties as principle in Fort Calhoun at the begging of the new school year in the fall.