Family Awaits Return Of Deployed Dad - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/28/04

Family Awaits Return Of Deployed Dad

Sunday is expected to bring a happy homecoming for dozens of military families who live in the area. Members of the 1108th AVCRAD are set to arrive in South Mississippi shortly after Noon.

By late Saturday night, 55 national guardsmen and women should be on their way to the Air National Guard Base in Gulfport. The reservists are returning from a one-year deployment in Kuwait. Their primary duty was to repair helicopters for American forces.

Back here at home, friends and family have been counting down the days until the unit's return and tomorrow just can't come soon enough.

The winding road that leads to the Compton home in Saucier has been decked with yellow ribbons for the past year. Some of the bows have faded but thoughts of Tink Compton are alive and well.

"Watching that live coverage, there was nights that I would stay up until 3 in the morning watching. I don't know what I thought I could do about it, but I just couldn't bring myself to go to sleep," said wife of deployed guardsman, Ronnie Compton.

Compton has had a lot of time to reflect on memories she's made with her husband of 15 years. She knows he's been fulfilling a duty by serving our country overseas, but it hasn't been easy holding down the fort back here at home.

"Just raising the kids. That's something a daddy, you know, when Daddy steps in and says 'no,' that's the end of it. And with me, they know that's not the end. So, that's been hard. They've gotten away with a lot more this year than they would have if their dad had been here," Compton said.

But all that's going to change when Tink gets home. The only thing the family may be fighting over is who's going to get to him first.

"I really don't know. I've thought about that, but I guess because you see these things in the movies, you know, you kind of, and I'm thinking the kids want to see him as bad as I do. They haven't seen him for as long as it's been for me so, I'll let them have him first," Compton said.

Sunday is sure to bring a happy homecoming but the Comptons won't take down the withered bows that line the path to their house, after all, there are thousands of others like Tink Compton who are still serving our country overseas.

The unit has been in Kuwait since February 6th of last year.

By Toni Miles

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