ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Just in time for Christmas, 40 Minnesota airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing are home after serving in the last six months of the Iraq War.

On Wednesday, the men and women were welcomed home to the open arms of family and friends.

The airmen and women from the St. Paul-based 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron were in Kuwait where they served in support of Operation New Dawn.

Angie Erickson has been a taking care of three children, including a pair of twins, on her own for the last six months.

“You just pluck along day by day,” she said. “You don’t worry about the month out there, you just keep working through each week and that’s how you get through.”

The Coon Rapids mom waited on Wednesday morning with those three kids as her husband, one of 40 men and women with the 133rd Airlift Wing, stepped off a C-130.

No more video chats or phone calls. Sgt. Jace Erickson is home. But to these little girls, he’s dad.

“It’s great. It’s a great feeling. It’s been a pretty busy six months,” said Jace. “Pretty emotional. First deployment. My family is no stranger to deployments at all but this was my first one to be away and obviously three little ones makes it tough.”

Ann Gibson couldn’t hardly wait any longer for her husband.

“Just amazing, I think I knocked a couple kids over running to the plane,” she said.

For the last half-year while these airmen served their countrywhile their wives and kids waited a half-a-world away.

But now, the waiting is over.

“Especially to be home before Christmas. It’s a great feeling,” said Ann’s husband, Sgt. Sean Gibson.

According to the Minnesota National Guard, there are 74 airmen are deployed from the 133rd Airlift Wing to countries across the world, including civil engineers, firefighters, aeromedical technicians, logisticians and airmen from many other specialties.

  1. MN IN MN says:

    As much as I respect the sacrifice that our military members have made, I think we may be over reacting a bit. I am a Viet Nam era vet who did not have the “pleasure” of serving in that arena, although I did serve extended deployments during that era. In the 60’s there, wasn’t e-mail and skype. At that time,we relied on an occasional MARS contact {look it up}, now we are but a keystroke apart. Our deployments BEGAN at 6 months, and leaves were limited to one week per year after you had served a year’s duty. Family contact wasn’t as easy as it is today. I applaud the technology advances that allow our vets to stay in touch, but please pay respect to past vets. During Korea and WW1 and 2, our family members were gone for years at a time without contact. At that time it was normal. Lets keep it in perspective and be thankful for technology that allows us to remain in touch.