185th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Returns Home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Wendy S. Ohl
  • 185ARW/PA
Six months, 186 days. That's the length of time 32 members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) Security Forces Squadron spent securing the base at Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia. Six months may not seem like a lot of time to some, but when you're away from family and friends and the comforts of home, six months can be a very long time.

Airman 1st Class Jonathan LaCroix worked as a public relations representative at the front gate at Eskan Village. He was the first American they would see when entering the base. They would have U.S. Army drivers transporting people from India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and even Yemen coming on base.

"It was all pretty routine," stated LaCroix. "Going to Silver Flag Alpha in Las Vegas really helped train us for the deployment."

What was the hardest part about being away for so long? "Things here didn't stop; birthdays, anniversaries, school events," stated LaCroix.. "Things just went on without you." LaCroix is currently attending Iowa State University and said they were very helpful in working with him on his schedule and coursework while he was gone.

Being a woman in uniform presented challenges of it's own for Senior Airman Janice Brouwer. "In the Muslim world a woman is to be seen and not heard. The Muslim men would talk to my male counterparts and not say a word to me. Over here (in the United States) it's very different. Women tend to get more attention than men. I had a hard time getting used to that," stated Brouwer. Brouwer worked the night shift doing perimeter security at Eskan Village.

Both LaCroix and Brouwer have been in the Guard approximately two years and this was their first deployment. Would they go back again? "Oh yeah, I'd go back." stated both LaCroix and Brouwer enthusiastically.

The homecoming became very special for Staff Sgt. Daven Dekok. After hugging his daughter, he knelt down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend Tiffany Bauerly. Through her tears she hugged him and he placed the ring on her left hand. His three-year-old daughter, McKenzie Dekok was thrilled to have daddy home, and be getting a new mommy, too.

"We've talked about getting married, but he just hadn't proposed," said Bauerly. "The wedding is set for May." Her excitement was evident as she smiled through tears and showed off her ring to family, friends and onlookers witnessing the proposal.

"It was a perfect day for a homecoming," said Col. Brian Miller, 185th Commander . "The sun is shining and there is no wind to speak of." And for 32 members of the 185th ARW and their families, it was a very good day indeed.

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