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Wisconsin Air National Guard family members deployed to the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Southwest Asia; a total of five sets of family members deployed from the 128th Air Control Squadron, Volk Field Combat Readiness Center, Wisconsin. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
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Families make unit stronger

Posted 1/23/2013   Updated 1/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/23/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The bags are packed and the mile-long checklist is finally complete. An Airman let out a sigh of relief, finally he or she can spend a few precious moments with their family before they have to tell them goodbye for the next six months. They cherish every minute, and wish time would slow down as the reality of the departure date arrives.

The harsh reality of leaving family behind is common for service members, what is not so common, is being deployed with them.

The 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron understands the significance of family bonds, and they should, they have five pairs of related Airmen.

"We have great camaraderie because we have all these families," explained Master Sgt. Katie Divyak, 727th EACS air surveillance technician, whose brother, Maj. Chris Divyak, is the 727th EACS assistant director of operations. "A lot of us went to school together and grew up in the same areas, then adding family members to the mix just makes us that much closer."

While some dream of those little things they miss from home, Staff Sgts. Janiece and Jaqueline Griffis enjoy a taste of home together while deployed.

"We were just at the pool the other day, and it reminded us of when we grew up playing mermaids in our little pool in the backyard," said Jaqueline Griffis, 727th EACS supply.

Their sisterly bond transcends the pool, and radiates throughout the squadron.

"It's nice because we have a piece of home with us here," said Janiece Griffis, 727th EACS operations.

The intimate knowledge family members have with each other builds into the strong foundation of camaraderie found within the unit.

"It's a lot easier to work with him because I know what to expect from him," explained Staff Sgt. Ryan Swieter, 727th EACS material management, speaking of his brother Tech. Sgt. Seth Swieter, 727th EACS electronic protection technician. "I know his strengths and weaknesses and can work with them."

While there are special bonds between siblings that clearly impact the family feel of the unit, the bond between a father and his son are equally strong.

"It's hard for me to let him have his career, I will always be there to guide him if he needs it, but I have to let his leadership be his leadership," said Chief Master Sgt. Ted Ostrowski, 727th EACS maintenance superintendent, of his youngest son, Senior Airman Tyler Ostrowski, 727th EACS network operations. "When I see him at shift change it does lift my spirits, though."

Tyler Ostrowski said watching his father in the military throughout his life influenced his decision to join the military, and now, being deployed with him definitely gives the unit more of a family feel to him.

"It helps us have that bond within the unit," Tyler Ostrowski said, nodding his head in satisfaction. "Having our families here just adds to the family our unit has become. I know they have my back."

The kinship within the EACS is a unique mixture of family, friends, memories and lives bonded together to form an authentic military family, solidifying not only the unit, but the family member's relationships as well.

1/29/2013 3:08:47 AM ET
This is awesome. Best wishes to all I have an affinity for the USAF since I know someone serving. Keep up the good works.
Ed Boyd, Tulsa OK 74114
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