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Security Forces, families welcome wingmen home

Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hugs his son, Channing Hooser, after returning home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McCauley was welcomed home by his family after his six-month long deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hugs his son, Channing Hooser, after returning home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McCauley was welcomed home by his family after his six-month long deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

A 436th Security Forces Squadron patrol car escorts defenders on their return home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Airmen were deployed to the Middle East for six months. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

A 436th Security Forces Squadron patrol car escorts defenders on their return home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Airmen were deployed to the Middle East for six months. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Staff Sgt. Justin Stevenson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, kisses his wife, Jamielee, while hugging his daughter, Julia, upon his return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Stevenson’s team has been deployed since July 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Staff Sgt. Justin Stevenson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, kisses his wife, Jamielee, while hugging his daughter, Julia, upon his return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Stevenson’s team has been deployed since July 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Defenders assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The 12 Defenders departed the bus after a long day of flights returning them to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Defenders assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The 12 Defenders departed the bus after a long day of flights returning them to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, embraces his daughter, Amelia, and wife, Kelly, upon his return home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Johnson’s team was deployed to the Middle East for six months. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, embraces his daughter, Amelia, and wife, Kelly, upon his return home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Johnson’s team was deployed to the Middle East for six months. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, a member of the 436th Security Forces Squadron, returns home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Family and friends gathered at Dover AFB to welcome home their loved ones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, a member of the 436th Security Forces Squadron, returns home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Family and friends gathered at Dover AFB to welcome home their loved ones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hugs his daughter, Amelia, as his wife, Kelly, looks on Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Johnson family was reunited after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Master Sgt. Michael Johnson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hugs his daughter, Amelia, as his wife, Kelly, looks on Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Johnson family was reunited after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Members of the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The team dropped off their bags and went home with their families after a long flight back to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Members of the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The team dropped off their bags and went home with their families after a long flight back to the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Staff Sgt. Justin Stevenson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hands a stuffed animal to his daughter, Julia, Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Stevenson and 11 of his wingmen returned early that morning from a six-month deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Staff Sgt. Justin Stevenson, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, hands a stuffed animal to his daughter, Julia, Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Stevenson and 11 of his wingmen returned early that morning from a six-month deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, holds Jaxon, his son, after returning home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McCauley is one of twelve defenders sent to the Middle East for a six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)
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Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, holds Jaxon, his son, after returning home from deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McCauley is one of twelve defenders sent to the Middle East for a six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Defenders assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The 12 Defenders departed the bus after a long day of flights returning them to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)
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Defenders assigned to the 436th Security Forces Squadron return home from deployment to the Middle East Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The 12 Defenders departed the bus after a long day of flights returning them to Dover AFB. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, returns home from a deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. He was met by his family for the first time in six months after his deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)
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Staff Sgt. Issac McCauley, 436th Security Forces Squadron defender, returns home from a deployment Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. He was met by his family for the first time in six months after his deployment to the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zoe M. Wockenfuss)

Luggage belonging to 12 returning 436th Security Forces Squadron defenders rests in a warehouse after a six-month deployment to the Middle East, Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Families and unit members met the defenders upon their return. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)
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Luggage belonging to 12 returning 436th Security Forces Squadron defenders rests in a warehouse after a six-month deployment to the Middle East, Jan. 21, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Families and unit members met the defenders upon their return. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Members of the 436th Security Forces Squadron and their families gathered early in the morning Jan. 21, 2018, to welcome home 12 Airmen from a six-month deployment to the Middle East.

The returning defenders stepped off the bus shortly after 1 a.m. where they were met by Col. Randy Boswell, 436th Mission Support Group commander, and Lt. Col. Michael Morales, 436th SFS commander, along with other group and squadron leadership, wingmen and family members eager to see them.

“It seems like yesterday they were leaving on this deployment, but it feels like they’ve been gone forever,” said the father of one of the returning Airmen.

The Airmen deployed in July 2017 and provided flightline security, entry control, law and order and vehicle searches at their deployed location. Some of them also performed off-base escort missions for American personnel travelling to and from the international airport. Three members forward deployed for 90 days as well.

Additionally, during the deployment four members were selected to attend the U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Training Seminar, a professional development course, where they learned more about the sister service’s capabilities and structure.

“They all proved themselves to be true ambassadors to not only Dover but to the Air Force as well,” Morales said. “I personally received thanks from the deployed commander on the outstanding job they did.”

It isn’t uncommon to deploy as a security forces member, Morales said. While it isn’t always possible, security forces Airmen typically stay at their home stations at least a year before they are tasked with another deployment.

“Security forces is an extremely high ops tempo career field,” Morales said. “We need to make sure we are not only prepared to do the law enforcement and security mission while in garrison, but we need to be ready for any contingency around the world. We devote countless hours to make sure our defenders are an enhanced fighting force ready for any confrontation in any environment.”

The job is demanding at home and abroad, and it’s up to the squadron to not only make sure the Airmen are ready to do their job, but also make sure the families are prepared for the difficulties of deployments.

“Equally important [to training our Airmen], we need to make sure we are taking exceptionally good care of the family members left behind,” Morales said. “We are fortunate to have one of the best Key Spouse programs on Dover AFB whose members go above and beyond in making sure all our deployed family members are taken care of.”

The unit is glad to have 12 of their Airmen return safely, but at this point, there are still families waiting for the return of 18 more serving at deployed locations around the world.

“One of the best things about being a commander is welcoming home our returning deployers and seeing the reunion with their families,” Morales said. “I cannot be more proud of our Dover Defenders in everything they have done and all the sacrifices they have made to carry out this mission.”