Airmen prepare for holiday deployment

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JACKSONVILLE, AR – Steve Beauford drove six hours from Missouri to see his son off. He knew this day would come. The holidays will be tough this year, and not a moment will go by that Steve isn’t worrying.

“I just hope we all think of our troops and wish them a happy and safe homecoming,” Beauford said.

Airmen first class Zachary Beauford also leaves behind his girlfriend Rebekah.

“It’s hard but you have to stay strong and you do what you have to do and we’re proud of him,” Rebekah Zakrzewski said.

Rebekah has her friends and family to lean on for support while Zachary’s away.

“It’ll be harder on him I think than me to be alone for the holidays but we’ll still get to call,” Zakrzewski said.

She says she’s just focused on his homecoming.

“We’re going straight on a vacation,” Zakrzewski said.l “He’s taking leave for a month and we’re going on vacation.”

Zachary says he’s nervous for his first tour, bummed he’ll miss the holidays with his loved ones, but he’s excited to put to use his training. He says the deployment will go by quickly and he too has big plans for his homecoming.

“I’m going to try to buy a new car and hopefully get a new motorcycle another motorcycle,” Beauford said.

Until then, he’ll rely on his second family, his fellow airmen to get his through and lift his spirits.

The LRAFB currently has 900 airmen deployed supporting operations overseas.

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