Heroes from the Home Front

  • Published
  • By Capt. Toni Tones
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
From home-baked goods to dog tags to microwavable entrees, the Airmen of the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron AMMO Flight have received care packages from all over the world from loved ones, or Heroes from the Home Front.

The flight is primarily comprised of Airmen deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

"We've been bombarded with goodies from our loved ones, and you can bet they will not go to waste," said Senior Master Sgt. Keith Bollinger, 455th EMXS/AMMO chief of munitions. "There's rarely a day that we don't have some type of package come in from 'our' heroes at home. We even had a very popular coffee vendor from Greensboro (N.C.) donate more than 20 bags of coffee to the troops here."

Staff Sgt. Randy Wilhide's hero is his mother, Deborah Wilhide. Mrs. Wilhide, a cashier at Central York Middle School in York, Penn., sent six boxes of goodies which included microwavable entrees, Chap Stick, tuna, and chips collected by the school. But the hit of the care package were the chocolate-covered pretzels.

"These aren't just any chocolate-covered pretzels; these are made by a local candy store in my hometown," said Sergeant Wilhide, a munitions plans and programs manager deployed from 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Seymour Johnson. "Everyone loved them! There were probably four or five dozen and they only lasted from 9 to 11 a.m. So we requested some more and got three more boxes. Thanks Mom, you're the greatest."

Senior Airman Jessica Calhoun, a munitions controller crew chief deployed from the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Spangdahlem, has received a box of cookies each month of the unit's deployment from her grandmother, Flora Glenn of Chesterfield, Ill.

"She typically sends a variety of cookies from chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter kisses, snicker doodles and fudge," Airman Calhoun said. "They only last about 30 minutes; so the night shift doesn't get any. March isn't over, so there may be another box coming and they may have a chance to eat some, but I doubt it."

Susi Kuhn, wife of Master Sgt. Dennis Kuhn, a munitions nightshift production chief deployed also from Spangdahlem, has sent 86 boxes of homemade baked pastries, German candies, and chocolates packed in individual boxes.

"She does this because she wants to support me and the troops who are here away from their families," Sergeant Kuhn said. "Some of her local German friends and my Mom helped her bake the goodies so Airmen and Soldiers could enjoy them.

"She overwhelms us with stuff every two weeks," added Airman Calhoun.

The first time Master Sgt. Gary Roush's wife, Michelle, sent a small batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, our young Airmen asked for more, Sergeant Bollinger said. Each time she sends a batch, it gets bigger and bigger; she even sent the night shift their own.

"Nothing is more heart warming than a family member taking the time to bake cookies for people she doesn't even know," said Sergeant Bollinger. "She is doing this to bring a bit of home to the front line...pretty awesome."

Food wasn't all the Airmen received, although it was the bulk of it.

Ginger Huff, wife of Master Sgt. Kevin Huff, a munitions dayshift production chief deployed from Seymour Johnson, had 258 dog tags made--half for Air Force and half for Army--that read "My Mom / Dad served in Afghanistan 2008."

"This was a huge hit in the unit among both branches of service," Sergeant Huff said. "It was something for the kids whose parents had to leave them for up to 15 months (for our fellow Army AMMO troops). My daughter, Baylee, has one and never takes it off."

Whether it was sending some home-baked cookies or providing the children left behind a token that their parents are thinking of them, these Airmen are thankful for their Heroes from the Home Front.