Deployment reunites 75th EAS member with family after 16 years

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Olivia Gibson
  • 406th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Richard Dennis, 75th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130H aircraft maintainer, got to celebrate mothers day a little differently this year by spending it reunited with his mother and brother after 16 years.

Richard's childhood years were split between the United States and Ghana. His family, originally from Ashanti Region of Ghana, frequently moved between the two countries for seasonal work, but later settled in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Rockford, Illinois. This cultural duality shaped Richard's early life, presenting challenges within two distinct lifestyles.

“There was quite a cultural adjustment for my family, traveling between two places frequently,” said Dennis. “That was definitely my biggest struggle, having to live two lifestyles.”

Motivated by his mother's aspirations for better opportunities in the United States, Richard relocated permanently to Rockford, Illinois, at the age of 10, then later attended Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Aerospace Engineering while his mother and brother remained in Ghana.

Following his academic pursuits, Richard enlisted with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard to access educational benefits and further his personal development. He then went on to transfer to the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing to complete his education and continue his military career closer to home.

“I wanted her to see me at the peak of my career, fulfilling a promise to make her very proud and make the best out of the difficult decision she made for me to seek a better life in the U.S.,” said Dennis.

Despite not initially planning on a military career, Richard found fulfillment in the opportunities and personal growth afforded by his service which then led him to a reunion with his mother, Joy, and his brother, Ruben, after 16 years apart. This reunion took place unexpectedly during a deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, facilitated by Richard's unit and leadership.

During their time together, Richard and his family immersed themselves in local culture, enjoying activities such as sampling cuisine, engaging with the community at the Caritas Orphanage, and exploring the Djibouti Mall. The highlight of their visit was Richard's promotion ceremony, where his family witnessed his career milestone alongside his fellow service members.

Grateful for the support of his unit and the opportunity to share this experience with his family, Richard reflects on the significance of their reunion and the continued motivation it provides him in his military career. He remains committed to achieving further success and making his family proud, both in his professional endeavors and personal achievements.