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Families of Fort Drum aviation unit soldiers prepare signs welcoming them home

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FORT DRUM — It’s been a long 10 months for Marianne I. Schwab, as she has waited for her husband, combat flight medic Sgt. Damian Schwab, to return from deployment.

Moving back to her hometown near Daytona, Fla., she said she has tried to keep herself busy by working and spending time with family. However, missing days such as their first wedding anniversary has made it tough.

“There’s nothing I can do,” Mrs. Schwab said. “You’ve just got to suck it up and keep moving.”

On Friday, she and a handful of other spouses with the family readiness group connected to the C Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade painted signs and banners they would hang up when the group returned.

The company, which does medevac missions, was one of the first of the brigade to deploy, and it is scheduled to return within a matter of weeks, though the exact timetable was not discussed because of operational security.

“We’re getting close,” said Kalin A. Prouty, the head of the company’s family readiness group.

In the meantime, Mrs. Schwab held a stencil as Kimberly H. Pelkey painted in letters spelling out “Welcome Home Dustoff,” representing the company’s nickname.

Friday’s sign-making meeting is one of several activities members of the family readiness group will on take in the weeks before their soldiers’ return. They also will be decorating the barracks of single soldiers.

In the past three days, Mrs. Schwab said, she had moved back to the post area, and had plenty of boxes of things that had to be organized to make her residence a home for her and her husband.

“I have a lot to keep me busy,” she said. “I’m ready for him to be home.”

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