Handful of 188th Airmen Return Home

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Six airmen with the 188th Fighter Wing returned home Friday night. They were deployed to an undisclosed location in the Middle East for about 90 days.

“I was good at first and now I'm just anxious,” said Ashley Dodd, an airman’s wife. “It always hits me at the last minute.”

Dodd waited three months for her husband to come home.

“Once we hit the halfway point I was like okay I'm kind of over this,” she said. “I'm ready for him to be home.”

Dodd’s husband, Andy, walked off an airplane and back into her arms Friday night. He kissed his wife and their 1-year-old daughter Mila.

“I missed her first birthday,” said Andy Dodd, an ECM Pod Shop Technician with the 188th Fighter Wing. “I got to see my wife. I missed her birthday and seeing them is overwhelming.”

When Andy left, Mila was not walking. She did not even have teeth.

“Now she's got six teeth and she's full blown walking, running, all over the place, so he is in for a ride,” said Dodd.

Five other families also reunited Friday. One airman got to meet his daughter for the first time.

Andy hugged his family, mom, niece, and brothers.

“He's the best brother in the whole world, so I mean he's a positive influence on my life,” said Lucas Gauger, Andy’s brother.

“It's great to come home and to know everything that I couldn't do they handled for me while I was away,” said Andy.

Andy plans to relax now that he is home. “He's probably gonna spend a lot of time with Mila,” said Dodd.

Officials say the 188th Fighter Wing still has hundreds of airmen serving oversees.

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