Families are the force behind the force

Families are the force behind the force

By Rachael Fisher

Today, RED Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed) and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day collide. We’re celebrating with a look at military photographers’ shots capturing the stages of one of life’s joyous moments: a military homecoming.


Stage 1: Arrival — not a moment too soon!

Charlotte Autrey runs toward her spouse who has returned from a deployment at the Ted Stevens International Airport, on Jan. 13, 2017. Airmen of the 302d Fighter Squadron and the 525th Fighter Squadron returned from a deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez)


Stage 2: Reunion – a hero’s welcome!

Airmen assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron reunite with friends and family during the squadron’s return to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on Oct. 12, 2016. Approximately 300 squadron members arrived from a six-month deployment in Southwest Asia where they provided close air support and dynamic targeting operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Preston Cherry)


Stage 3: Rejoice – they’ve waited months for this moment.

Machinist’s Mate Weapons 2nd Class Jeramy Coleman, right, holds his daughter, Sage, and kisses his wife, Liz, on the pier during a homecoming ceremony for the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754). Topeka arrived at Polaris Point for its first Guam homecoming following a two-month forward operating period to the Western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Lauren Spaziano/Released)


Stage 4: Smooches — absence makes the heart grow fonder.

A Soldier with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division kisses his wife during a welcome home ceremony Oct. 11, 2016 at Fort Stewart, Ga. Soldiers of B Co. served as the East Africa Response Force at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti for eight months in support of U.S. Africa Command and the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Candace Mundt/Released)


Stage 5: Reintroduction — hello baby!

Lance Cpl. Hunter Kussman, a cyber-network operator with the Black Sea Rotational Force, embraces his family during a homecoming ceremony on Camp Lejeune, N.C., on July 10, 2016. The Marines trained with fellow NATO countries to improve international relations and stability, solidifying international cohesion in the event of necessary multinational contingency missions (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Shannon Kroening/Released)


Stage 6: Reconnect – family time starts now!

An Airman assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron reunites with his family during the squadron’s return to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on Oct. 6, 2016. Approximately 300 of the Airmen, who serve in flight, maintenance or support roles for the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft, completed a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia by providing close air support and dynamic targeting operations as part of the squadron’s first deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Operation Inherent Resolve aims to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria and the wider international community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden)


Military homecomings are a beautiful sight! We can’t get enough of them, and we can’t say thank you enough to the military families who serve our country.

Thank you to the military spouses who keep service members’ families resilient and who selflessly support our military communities. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! A million thanks and then some.

 “The Army knows that the decision to join its ranks is not a solo one. It requires the support and encouragement of a Soldier’s best friend, companion and most-valued advisor. In short, it requires you and the entire extended family. Everything the Soldier goes through, you go through, and don’t think that’s not noticed. The strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families. You need to know that you’re just as valuable as the Soldier,” Army Family Strong.

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