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Airmen return to 'Warrior Welcome'

Senior Master Sgt. Deborah Francavilla, Tech. Sgts. Lynn Fyanes, and Andrew Thompson, from the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Hill AFB, UT., were among the first in line to grab a bite to eat from the food spread that was laid in honor of Airmen who recently returned home. Sergeant Francavilla and Thompson were deployed to Qatar and Sergeant Fyanes deployed to Kuwait.

Senior Master Sgt. Deborah Francavilla, Tech. Sgts. Lynn Fyanes, and Andrew Thompson, from the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Hill AFB, UT., were among the first in line to grab a bite to eat from the food spread that was laid in honor of Airmen who recently returned home. Sergeant Francavilla and Thompson were deployed to Qatar and Sergeant Fyanes deployed to Kuwait.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron, friends and family rallied around more than 50
Airmen who recently returned from various locations during a Warrior Welcome gathering on March 15 held at the 75th LRS Bldg. 900.

The purpose of the Warrior Welcome party is to acknowledge recently returned members from deployment, send off current Air Expeditionary Force members soon-to-be deploying to various areas of responsibility, and to remember comrades who are currently serving in areas of conflict outside of Hill AFB.

"We owe debt of thanks to all our Airmen for serving our country and doing great things out there," Lt. Col. Todd Toman, 75 LRS commander said. "I received a lot of positive comments from commanders throughout the theater on all the great things our LRS people have done and are currently doing."

In 2006, Team Hill processed more than 1,600 personnel, through the personnel deployment function, to various locations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Global War on Terrorism and other contingencies.

During AEF 3/4, the 75th LRS, deployed more 40 personnel to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar and Kazakhstan.

During their recent deployment, Tech. Sgts. Andrew Wheeler, Steven Kobbe and Sean Hass, from the 75 LRS, earned bronze stars for their acts of heroism in theater. Each of them led the way as convoy commanders in charge of Air Force, Army and foreign national civilians, in Kuwait and Iraq.

In particular Sergeant Hass led 13 convoy missions with direct control of 386 vehicles and more than 500 Airmen, Soldiers and foreign national contract drivers operating long-haul missions over some of the most dangerous roads in the world.

During a night mission, while leading a 33-vehicle convoy ferrying sustainment supplies from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait to Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Sergeant Hass and his squad encountered a complex enemy attack on a main supply route. During this attack, the tractor trailer directly in front of his command vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device.

"When we were attacked it always kind of felt like slow motion," Sergeant Hass recalled. "You just react, training kicks in and your basic instinct for survival takes over."

Sergeant Hass ordered his gun trucks to provide 360-degree security and firepower allowing recovery actions to be carried out as the scene was being secured. The end result, lives saved and vehicles lead out of the kill zone.

The recovery and security was a team effort, Sergeant Hass said. "I learned that preparation and rehearsal, no matter how many times and how repetitive it can be, can save lives."

"This experience and the honor of the award really is humbling. There are troops out there being killed and injured almost daily in Iraq and I feel they are the true heroes that have given the ultimate sacrifice," Sergeant Hass said.