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Nellis Airmen return to friends, family

Senior Airmen Ruben Torres, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, hugs his wife, Amanda, and their son upon returning to Nellis from deployment in Iraq May 13. About 50 Airmen returned after spending four months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Kasabyan Austin)

Senior Airmen Ruben Torres, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, hugs his wife, Amanda, and their son upon returning to Nellis from deployment in Iraq May 13. About 50 Airmen returned after spending four months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Kasabyan Austin)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Approximately 50 Airmen from the 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron and the Manpower Office returned from deployment Saturday.The Airmen deployed in January in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of their standard four-month deployment cycle.

Kristin O'Dell, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron Travel Management Office travel manager, was glad to be back from her first deployment.

"It feels great!" Airman O'Dell said. "We were all tired on the plane, but also very excited."

Airman O'Dell left Nellis in December of 2005, and her return coincides with Mother's Day.

"It's the best Mother's Day gift ever," added Connie Perusse, Airman O'Dell's mother. "She's been gone since just before Christmas, and I wasn't sure what would happen when I saw her. I'm just glad she's back."

Airman O'Dell and her mother spoke often during the deployment, said Ms. Perusse.

"We found that I could send messages from my cell phone to her e-mail addresse, so it wasn't hard to stay in touch."

As of Wednesday, Nellis has approximately 550 people deployed.

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