Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Surprise reunion for Air Commando families

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27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

There was not a dry eye in the house as two Air Commandos were reunited with their loved ones during the L.J. Jenkins invitational Oct. 31 at the Curry County Events Center, Clovis.

Amy and Haley Grace McClanahan along with Sarah and Austin Kinsley arrived at the events center expecting only to be recognized in the Professional Bull Riders “Military Appreciation” segment as two military families with currently deployed spouses. As a special Halloween treat, both families received a short “I miss you” video from each of their spouses as part of the tribute. But, upon their husbands’ video messages ending, they were given an even larger surprise.

“Amy and Sarah; I know your husbands said they would be home soon, but soon is not soon enough,” said announcer Charlie Throckmorton.

As his sentence trailed off, Tech. Sgt. Alan McClanahan, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. James Kinsley, 524th Special Operations Squadron, emerged from the main performance curtain, home early from their respective deployments.

The crowd erupted with cheers and appease as both families ran across the bull riding arena right into each other’s arms. While they embraced, the words “From all of us, welcome home,” appeared on the jumbo-tron screen above.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said McClanahan. “You see events like these all the time on television, but I never thought I would have the chance to take part in one myself.”

As Kinsley would say, the hardest part of the reunion was not letting his family or fellow Air Commandos know he was back in town prior to the event. Despite this challenge, both parties were successful at remaining the Quiet Professionals Air Commandos pride themselves in being.

With both families reunited, the McClanahan’s and the Kinsley’s waved to the crowd and smiled for pictures as they made their way back to their seats eager to enjoy the closeness of their loved one once again.

 
 
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