NIAGARA FALLS - While Senior
Airman Daniel K. Scott was flying home from the Middle
East on Wednesday, his mother, Abby, of Castile in
Wyoming County, was up at 4 a.m. baking chocolate chip
The cookies were in the car when she and her husband,
Paul, arrived at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station
before noon to welcome their son. Scott's girlfriend,
Kristin Nesbitt, 29, of Buffalo, was also there to greet
"It feels good to be home," said Scott, 26,
after piling off a C-130 Hercules transport plane and
hugging his parents and girlfriend.
Scott, a crew chief with the 914th Airlift Wing, was
one of 50 Air Force reservists who returned to the base
from the Middle East, ending the largest and longest
deployment in the unit's history.
Barbara Freitas, a Canadian who lives in St.
Catharines, Ont., was waiting for her husband, Master
Sgt. Thomas Freitas, an American who maintains the
avionics equipment on the C-130 Hercules aircraft, the
workhorse of the 914th.
The airman was coming home after a four-month tour of
duty, and his wife waited in a hangar with her daughter,
Alexandra, 11, as the torrential remains of a lightning
storm poured down outside.
"We're pretty anxious," she said. "I
didn't get much sleep last night."
Her anxiety mounted when her husband wasn't on the
C-130 that landed at about 1 p.m. She reached for her
cell phone and was trying to call her husband when an
air base support person told her he would be on a plane
coming in later. Major Charles R. Anderson, 43, of
Albany, was on the C-130. He was the pilot. His wife,
Karen, and their three children, Zachary, 12, Hannah, 9,
and Aidan, 6, rushed into his arms when he stepped onto
Staff Sgt. Maurice Shivers, 33, of Grand Island, a
loadmaster with the 914th, was welcomed home by his
wife, Christina, and their children, Alexia, 7, Alicia,
2, and Alex, 1, and his parents, Maurice Sr. and
"It's such a relief to be back with my
family," he said.
Master Sgt. Douglas Kalota, 33, of North Tonawanda,
got a surprise welcome from his mother, Dorothy, who
drove up from Albany in a blinding rainstorm. Kalota's
wife, Shannon; father, Bob; several other relatives; and
Kalota's brother, Vince, a technical sergeant with the
107th Air Refueling Wing who did a tour of duty in 2003,
were also there to greet him.
"The airplanes are coming home, but the Wing is
still committed to supporting the country
overseas," said Col. James B. Roberts, commander of
the air base and the 914th Airlift Wing.
The 914th, which shares the air base with the 107th,
was the first unit to be deployed after the start of the
Iraq War in 2003.
Up to 500 airmen and women were deployed on a
rotation basis during the height of the Iraq War, said
Neil E. Nolf, the public affairs officer.
The rotating tours of duty have ranged from six weeks
to six months for the hundreds of civilian airmen and
women who train at the Niagara air base.