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Families greet Guardsmen, give others tearful send-off

By Staff
DEPARTURE Christy Reid, holds year-old daughter, Anna, as daughter, Abby, 4, waves a tearful goodbye Saturday to her dad, Joe Reid, a pilot with the 186 Air Refueling Wing. Reid is among 30 Guardsmen headed to active duty in the Middle East. Photo by carisa mccain / The Meridian Star
By Chris Allen Baker / staff writer
April 20, 2002
A plane carrying Tech. Sgt. Jeff Alexander arrived in Meridian about half an hour early Friday. The time change was just fine for his wife, Lisa, and their son, J.C., of the Duffee community.
The moment she saw him emerge from a military building following a meeting, Lisa ran to Jeff and held him tightly for several minutes. J.C., stood by, awaiting his turn for a hug from his dad. It was the first time Lisa and J.C. had seen Jeff since he left in January to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Alexanders arrived early to make sure they caught the first glimpse of the plane as it made its way to Meridian and home.
Twelve Guardsmen assigned to the 186th Air Refueling Wing at the Air National Guard base in Meridian arrived home Friday from the Middle East.
At the same time, families waved goodbye to 30 Guardsmen who left for a 30 to 90 day tour of duty.
Julie Manley prepared to film the departure of the plane on which her husband, Tech. Sgt. Pete Manley, flew.
Their four-year-old son, Parker, gave Pete a stuffed giraffe as a keepsake. Robin Sirven, Pete's younger sister, also watched with a few tears as the plane took off.
Sharon Rumney and her husband, Maj. Donald Rumney, will get a chance to celebrate more than his return.
Like other families, Sharon Rumney and Lisa Alexander used e-mail and phone calls to keep in touch with their loved ones.

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