Airlifter of the week welcomes home heroes

by Airman 1st Class Manuel Zamora
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Sigmon, 86th Mission Support Group Detachment 1 Deployment Transition Center mission set manager, right, is recognized as Airlifter of the Week by 86th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Hope Skibitsky at Ramstein Air Base, July 8. Sigmon transitions re-deployers at the DTC and has facilitated 19 post-deployment courses for members returning home since his arrival in January 2021. The Airlifter of the Week program recognizes individuals, who through hard work and dedication, make the 86th AW the global gateway to the world. — Photo by Senior Airman Manuel G. Zamora

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Sigmon, developed a passion for woodworking after a deployment that was detrimental to him spiritually. He revealed that it started after he asked himself

“What would Jesus do?”

“Why was he a carpenter?” Sigmon asked. “Why would he work with wood?”

After doing some research, Sigmon concluded it was because Jesus would find something that didn’t have use and repurpose it.

Sigmon says a lot of people come back from war and have questions about what happened, why it happened and why it happened to them while deployed.

The Deployment Transition Center’s main mission is to assist personnel with reintegration skills and decompression to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and welcome them home from deployment.

“[We] welcome home the heroes of our wars and treat people like they truly matter,” Sigmon said. “The best people to take care of Airmen, are Airmen, and the best people to take care of combat veterans, are combat veterans.”

Sigmon has deployed five times in Southwest Asia and says taking care of people emotionally and spiritually is what he’s all about. He has facilitated 19 post-deployment courses since his arrival to Ramstein Air Base in January.

Sigmon was quick to say he couldn’t do what he does without his team at the DTC.

He added his family and faith are his rocks, without them he wouldn’t be the man he is today.

“They are my bedrock,” Sigmon said. “I wouldn’t have the discipline I have if it weren’t for them. I feel God put me on a path where all my training and all my Air Force experiences came together and have brought me to where I am.”

Sigmon assists people returning with invisible wounds and moral injuries. He meets with Airmen and completes after action reports. He also leads outings in various cities to help acclimate recently deployed members to civilian environments they haven’t experienced since being deployed.

“He’s one of the hardest working people here, wears his heart on his sleeve and he cares,” said Lt. Col. Ken Sterling, 86th MSG Det. 1 commander. “You see it every time he interacts with the people that are coming through the DTC.”

Sigmon’s team says he is the voice of reason. At age 37, and accomplishing 19 years of service, the North Carolina native says he’s looking forward to retiring soon and becoming a school teacher. However, Sigmon continues to be dedicated to caring for people and his team.

“When it comes to decompression and reintegration skills, and making sure people go home safe to their families better than when they arrived here, Sigmon’s your guy,” Sterling said. “He embodies what we are all about.”

He shared why he still works hard after many years of service.

“I want to leave a strong legacy, so Airmen can see, even after wearing this uniform, there are still people out there that care,” Sigmon said.