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Alaska National Guardsmen return home after 4 months in Iraq

  • Author: Loren Holmes
  • Updated: February 8, 2020
  • Published February 8, 2020

Maj. Jeremy Brewer kisses his daughter Brynlee, 1, after returning from a 4-month deployment to Al Asad Airbase, on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Greeting him are his wife, Lt. Col. Christy Brewer, and daughters Ashtyn, 4, and Isabella, 5. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

A few dozen Air National Guardsmen from the 211th Rescue Squadron and supporting airmen from other 176th Wing units returned home Friday, a month after the airbase where they were stationed in Iraq came under an Iranian ballistic missile attack, which caused damage to the base but did not kill any American service members.

The service members arrived at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in two HC-130J aircraft and were greeted by family on the tarmac. "It's great to be home," said Lt. Col. Joshua Armstrong, the deployed squadron commander, who added that most of the Alaska Guardsmen were born and raised in Alaska.

Joe Brewer walks out to greet his son, HC-130 pilot Maj. Jeremy Brewer. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Joe Brewer walked out to greet his son, HC-130 pilot Maj. Jeremy Brewer, and carried a hand-drawn sign with the American flag and the words “Welcome Home Son” written on it. With Joe was his wife, Angie; daughter-in-law Christy; granddaughters Brynlee, 1, Ashtyn, 4, Isabella, 5; and the family’s au pair Jennifer Rauch.

Although it had been four months since Maj. Brewer had seen his daughters, it wasn’t quite that long since he had seen his wife, Lt. Col. Christy Brewer. Her deployment to Al Asad, as the 176th Operations Support Squadron Commander, ended four days after he arrived. “We high-fived in Iraq,” she said.

Master Sgt. Thomas Miller gets a kiss from his girlfriend Heidi Cestaro. (Loren Holmes / ADN)