Oregon Air Force reservists home from Afghanistan

Oregon Air Force reservists home from Afghanistan

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by Erica Heartquist

Bio | Email | Follow: @EricaHeartquist

kgw.com

Posted on May 4, 2010 at 12:45 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Twenty one US Air Force Reservists are home safely with their families after a four month deployment to Afghanistan.

The C-17 rolled up to the Oregon Air National Guard Base in northeast Portland just after 6:30 a.m. Tuesday from Germany.

The nearly two dozen Air Force Reservists are all members of the 304th Rescue Squadron, which is a highly trained group also known as "pararescuemen."

They are trained to handle combat and medical situations and have the same qualifications as paramedics.

Major John Graver came home to his wife, Claudia and sons, Jake and Luke.

"Seeing service members that go home in flagged draped coffins knowing that their families aren't going to have this. Freedom is definitely not free; definitely make use of all the time you have with your family," he said. "I've seen a lot of families that don't have this and never will see this. They never will see their service members come home, local and nationals that are injured and wounded. It's definitely as an American that some people take for granted. Hopefully everybody gets to see that we don't all live in the same kind of world. It's not an even world across the board."

His wife Claudia said through tears, "I feel like I've been holding my breath for four months," she started to cry. "It's been hard," she added.

The Air Force said that in two months alone, the group conducted 186 missions, and they've saved nearly 100 lives.

This was the second and third time many of the reservists have been deployed to Afghanistan.

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