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Trio of deployed Airmen get holiday surprise

(Left to right) Staff Sergeants Bryce Moore, James Liston and Kevin Rynbrandt stand in front of one of their unit's jets Jan. 1 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. All three were recently notified that they had been selected for pilot training. The Airmen are deployed from the 110th Fighter Wing, at Battle Creek, Mich. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco)

(Left to right) Staff Sergeants Bryce Moore, James Liston and Kevin Rynbrandt stand in front of one of their unit's jets Jan. 1 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. All three were recently notified that they had been selected for pilot training. The Airmen are deployed from the 110th Fighter Wing, at Battle Creek, Mich. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco)

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan -- Three Airmen deployed here from the 110th Fighter Wing at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Mich., received a welcome holiday message recently.

Staff Sergeants Bryce Moore, Kevin Rynbrandt and James Liston received word on Dec. 21 that they all were selected for pilot training.

"Our supervisor must have been pretty confident we would get accepted," Sergeant Rynbrandt said. "He purchased cigars ahead of time to celebrate."

For the three selectees, it was the culmination of nearly three years of preparation.

"I starting working on my package in college, and decided toward the end to apply for an active duty position with Sergeant Rynbrandt and Sergeant Liston," Sergeant Moore said.
The Airmen had a tense few months after submitting their applications for consideration last September.

"We were really on the edge of our seats," Sergeant Liston said. "The original results date was supposed to be Nov. 27, but that got pushed back to Dec. 15. We never heard about another extension and were checking the (board results) Web site six or seven times a day," he said.

"We were banking on hearing by the 21st or else we would have probably had to wait until after the holidays," Sergeant Moore said.

After their deployment and training, the three Airmen have a good idea of what their future holds, and are excited about it, they said.

"I'd like fly an F-15 Eagle before moving on to some of the newer aircraft like the F-22 Raptor," Sergeant Moore said.

"A-10 Thuderbolt IIs for me," Sergeant Rynbrandt said.

"I would like to fly any fighter," Sergeant Liston said.

For the three Airmen, the news has made deployment away from loved ones over the holidays a little easier, they said.

"I think I speak for all three of us when I say it was the best Christmas present we've ever gotten," said Sergeant Moore.