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108th Wing security forces Airmen return home just in time for the holidays

Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, center, is all smiles as he is reunited with his sister, Ashley Laramai, and his wife, Mary, right, on Dec. 2, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., from a recent deployment to Iraq. Bunce was one of eight Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returning home from the approximately six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, center, is all smiles as he is reunited with his sister, Ashley Laramai, and his wife, Mary, right, on Dec. 2, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., from a recent deployment to Iraq. Bunce was one of eight Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returning home from the approximately six-month deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

Eight New Jersey National Guard's Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returned home Dec. 2, from a recent deployment to Iraq. From left to right, Staff Sgts. Omar Navarro, Newark resident and Miguel Eusse, Linden; Tech. Sgts. Dennis Callan, Philadelphia and Chris Gable, Somers Point; Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, Wrightstown; Senior Airmen Errol McCalla, Belle Mead and Keri Wanner, Scotch Plains; and Staff Sgt. James Cervone, Chicago, Ill., pose for a group photo at the 108th SFS building at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

Eight New Jersey National Guard's Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returned home Dec. 2, from a recent deployment to Iraq. From left to right, Staff Sgts. Omar Navarro, Newark resident and Miguel Eusse, Linden; Tech. Sgts. Dennis Callan, Philadelphia and Chris Gable, Somers Point; Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, Wrightstown; Senior Airmen Errol McCalla, Belle Mead and Keri Wanner, Scotch Plains; and Staff Sgt. James Cervone, Chicago, Ill., pose for a group photo at the 108th SFS building at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

JOINT BASE-MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., - - -- They have been counting the days until homecoming since the day they departed early this summer. And on Dec. 2, the wait ended for some family members of security forces Airmen from the 108th Wing.
 
     Eight Airmen from the 108th Security Forces Squadron returned home from Iraq to hugs and kisses late Friday night and were finally reunited with their loved ones at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
 
     The Airmen served honorably in the Middle East for approximately six months, and they came home just in time for the holiday season as the draw down of military troops from Iraq continues.
 
     Although she Skyped at least once a week with her husband, Staff Sgt. Donald Bunce, she was happy to finally have him back, said Mary Bunce, a Wrightstown resident.
   
     "We'll plan a trip to the Caribbean next year," said Mary Bunce.
 
     But for now they just want to enjoy their reunion and their fifth wedding anniversary in February, said Mary Bunce.
 
     In addition, the Airmen are very grateful to be home early for the holiday season.
 
     "I am ecstatic!" said Senior Airman Keri Wanner of Scotch Plains. "It's all so surreal."
 
     With the help of her father, Kevin, Wanner plans to surprise her family. "Nobody knows that I am back except my father," said Wanner. So she will be visiting her family around the state this weekend and giving them a holiday surprise.
 
     "It's always nice to get our Airmen back from overseas," said Lt. Col. Brian Griefer, commander of the 108th SFS. "These are our missions but it feels good when they come back safely, especially from over there."
 
     During their deployment in Iraq, the security forces Airmen conducted air base defense, which consisted of ensuring the security of the base; manning the gates for entry and exit into the base and perimeter patrols.