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Moody welcomes SFS Airmen home for holidays

Staff Sgt. Corodney Hunter holds his daughter Jamari at the security forces homecoming ceremony Dec. 14 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Deployed members from the 820th Security Forces Group, 23rd SFS and Texas Air National Guard returned home early from their deployment in order to spend the holidays with family and friends. Sergeant Hunter is assigned to the 824th Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Rissmiller)

Staff Sgt. Corodney Hunter holds his daughter Jamari at the security forces homecoming ceremony Dec. 14 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Deployed members from the 820th Security Forces Group, 23rd SFS and Texas Air National Guard returned home early from their deployment in order to spend the holidays with family and friends. Sergeant Hunter is assigned to the 824th Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Rissmiller)

Staff Sgt. Clint Parks walks around with his son C.J. on his shoulders at the homecoming ceremony held for deployed security forces members Dec. 14 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. More than 160 security forces members returned home just in time to spend the holidays with loved ones. Sergeant Parks is assigned to the 822nd Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Rissmiller)

Staff Sgt. Clint Parks walks around with his son C.J. on his shoulders at the homecoming ceremony held for deployed security forces members Dec. 14 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. More than 160 security forces members returned home just in time to spend the holidays with loved ones. Sergeant Parks is assigned to the 822nd Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Rissmiller)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- "I'll be home for Christmas ... " has a new meaning to several deployed security forces Airmen who returned Dec. 14 from Iraq after almost six months, just in time to spend the holidays at home.

The team, made up of more than 160 Moody Airmen from the 820th Security Forces Group, 23rd Security Forces Squadron and the Texas National Guard, deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, June 28.

"We found out at the beginning of December (that we were coming home early), but the exact dates were not known," said Master Sgt. Anthony Erskine, 824th SFS Operations NCO in-charge. "But everyone was excited. To spend this holiday season with family and friends was something we all thought was not going to happen."

For some, the early homecoming affords them the opportunity to see their newest family additions make their world debut.

"I will be glad to arrive home early so I can be by my wife's side during the birth of our second child," said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Hannasch, 824th SFS. "My wife Melanie is due Dec. 23 with our first daughter."

Others are looking forward to meeting and getting better acquainted with their newest family members.

"I am happy to return home early because this has been the longest deployment away from my wife since I entered the military," said Senior Airman Randy Jeffrey, 824th SFS. "Most of all, I will be happy to spend Christmas and New Year's with my wife and our daughter Rosalie, who was born during my deployment."

The Airmen are also excited to be back with family and friends in order to continue their holiday traditions.

"I was very excited when I found out I was going to make it home for Christmas," said Airman 1st Class Adam Barringer, 824th SFS. "I now will be able to spend time with my wife, family and friends for the holidays. It also affords me the opportunity to go to church service on Christmas Eve with my family."

During the deployment, the members were part of the Detachment 7, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. While Moody members made up the majority of the team, there were also members deployed from the 204th SFS. The 204th SFS is an Air National Guard unit out of Fort Bliss, Texas.

Their duties while deployed included training Iraqi police personnel, conducting daily combat patrols and providing armed responses to support Det. 7 and other coalition forces during small arms attacks.

"All (of the) Airmen assigned to us have done an outstanding job conducting the mission," said Sergeant Erskine. "They took the mission and improved many areas to take it to higher levels."

Sergeant Erskine said each Airman was awarded the Army's 4th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia for former wartime service for their sustained combat operations.