News: Deployed airman returns for Valentine’s surprise
Story by Airman Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Imagine being separated from the person you love most for a year, constantly worrying about each other’s well-being and resiliency. Think about the missed birthdays, anniversaries and other unexpected events spent apart. Then, consider how it would feel to reunite with that significant other on a romantic holiday.
Senior Master Sgt. Joey Bailey, 605th Aircraft Mobility Squadron specialist section noncommissioned officer in charge, returned from an overseas deployment a week early to surprise his wife, Kim, and children Feb. 14, 2013, here.
The 605th AMXS orchestrated Joey’s Valentine’s Day homecoming. Leaders from the 605th AMXS took Joey to his home on Dix after arriving here at approximately 11:30 a.m. where his wife was expecting a Valentine’s delivery.
Joey approached the house, left his car and greeted his wife with flowers and a smile. She could not control herself from breaking into tears as she embraced her husband.
“I wanted to surprise my wife to repay her for the year she struggled through without me,” said Joey. “Spouses have it worse than service members during a deployment. I can’t thank my unit enough for the support they gave my wife through my deployment. My unit talked to my wife frequently and invited her to a lot of events, especially on holidays. They treated her like family.”
Bailey and his wife have been married for 16 years and have three children and a grandchild. One of his children, Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Bailey, is currently serving a deployment.
The couple agreed that the adjustment to living without each other was the toughest part of his deployment. In spite of the negatives, Joey managed to keep in touch with his wife and children throughout the year.
“The communication was great,” said Bailey. “We talked on the phone almost every day and used Skype every Friday since that was a day of worship there.”
Bailey spent the last year serving as an air adviser to the Afghan air force in Kabul, Afghanistan. Bailey advised the Afghan Air University’s command sergeant major.
The Afghan Air University is the center for all initial training in the Afghan Air Force and also teaches English and literacy classes.
“We helped transform current programs into programs run completely by Afghans,” said Bailey. “We also assisted the Afghans in moving the Air University to a new, larger campus that should increase productivity up to 300 percent.”
The work flow in a deployed environment kept Joey’s mind occupied and made his adjustment easier than his wife’s. Spouses deserve thanks for being strong while their loved ones are away, added Joey.
“Joey is my hero,” said Kim.