Airman and Sailor get heroes welcome in Wichita

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Wichita, Kan. -- Only days ago Staff Sergeant Kaisha Gurtner was doing her Air Force job of loading weapons onto F-16's in Afghanistan.

But Tuesday morning the Dodge City native got a surprise heroes welcome at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita.

The 25 year old is in the Air Force reserves and part of the 301st fighter wing in Fort Worth. Sergeant Gurtner was deployed to Afghanistan in October.

Military veterans including members of the Patriot Guard, friends and family line up to surprise Gurtner as she arrives in Wichita.

Col. Herb Duncan, with the Commemorative Air Force, gives last minute instructions to the welcoming party saying, "So everybody get a heads up, look sharp and render a snappy, hand salute."

With a bagpipe playing the U.S. Air Force song Gurtner walks down the airport corridor with a big smile as she realizes the well wishers are there for her.

Duncan gives Sgt. Gurtner a welcome hug. "Welcome home. Welcome home. Well, we're glad to have you Kaisha. We're your greeting party here in Wichita. We call this our Wichita heroes welcome home." Gurtner responds, "Awesome. Thank you so much."

The welcome party got a two for one heroes welcome. That because a sailor Travis Lloyd, also of Dodge City, was on the same flight. He'll deploy to the Persian Gulf in two weeks. So they include Lloyd in the welcome also.

And while Sergeant Gurtner is surprised in Wichita, she has a surprise planned of her own. Tuesday afternoon she surprised her five year old son Shaun by walking into his kindergarten class in Dodge City.

Earlier, in an interview in Wichita, Gartner talked about how much she misses her son and how she communicated with him from Afghanistan. "I got to at least Skype with him on the weekends. So I could talk to him a little bit. He understands that I'm gone and is starting to understand why. But it's still very hard on him, very hard on me. So I'm just thrilled to get back and hopefully just surprise him as well. I'm going to squeeze him and not let go."


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