By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 16, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Feb. 16, 2012) -- Family and friends of 1-58th Airfield Operations Battalion gathered at Cairns Army Airfield to welcome Soldiers home from their deployment Feb. 5.
Members of 1-58th AOB were deployed to the Middle East with the unit spread from Taji, Iraq, to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, according to WO1 David M. Patterson of the unit.
"Deployment was for 12 months," he said. "I personally spent 10 months in Baghdad and two months in Kuwait."
According to Patterson, the 1-58th AOB had various missions during it's deployment.
"Members of the unit in Baghdad were responsible for maintaining Liberty Tower and Baghdad Radio's Air Traffic Control," he said. "They were also tasked with closing down those facilities in accordance with the drawdown."
The part of the unit in Taji was responsible for the ground-controlled approach portion of the mission, said Patterson. Soldiers' responsibilities included maintaining radar control for aircraft in their portion of Iraqi airspace. Those in Kuwait maintained and managed all airfield operations at Udairi Army Airfield at Camp Buehring.
"I was the platoon leader for Bahgdad and also worked as the unit movement officer for the 1-58th AOB," he said.
Upon returning to Cairns Army Airfield, the unit was briefed before entering the building where their friends and Family members were waiting for them. As they entered the room, those in attendance cheered at the site of their Soldiers' return. Patterson remembers the surreal moment as he entered the room.
"I was wondering if I was really back," he said. "It was a great moment once I spotted my Family in the crowd."
The unit was then released by Lt. Col. Terry Meyer, Air Traffic Services Command executive officer, where they were then able to greet their Families and friends.
"The first thing that I wanted to do when I saw my Family was anything that my little girl, Cassie, wanted to do," said Patterson. "I missed all the wonderful freedoms that the U.S has to offer while I was over there. I missed being with my little girl who turned 3 years old while I was deployed."
Patterson wasn't the only one who was missing things, according to his wife, Holly, who was there to welcome him back.
"I was so glad to have him back," she said. "I definitely missed him and I missed all of the little things that I take for granted that he does like cutting the grass and maintaining the vehicles."
"I'm still trying to settle in -- trying to get back into the motions of Family life again," said Patterson. "I'm definitely happy to be back."