Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moody Airmen return home

by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
23rd Wing Public Affairs

10/6/2011 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Airmen stepped off a large airliner and onto the flightline at Moody as coworkers and base leadership welcomed them home from a six month deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The returning Airmen are from the 74th Fighter Squadron, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron, 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron and the 23rd Maintenance Operations Squadron who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"They fly, maintain, and build munitions for the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft," said Maj. Gregory Lowe, 23rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "While deployed, the unit flew sorties supporting the United States and coalition ground forces."

After the returning Airmen got off the airliner, they boarded buses to be driven to a hanger where their family and friends anxiously awaited, keeping a close lookout for their loved ones.

"It was bittersweet to see him leave for this deployment," said Evelyn Jones, mother of Airman 1st Class Jason Jones. "It was his first deployment and we are so proud of him."

The Airmen attended one month of pre-deployment training then left for the six month deployment, and they still remember the feeling of leaving.

"We had never been to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan so there was some apprehension," said Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Ashby, 74th AMU A-10C Thunderbolt II productions superintendent. "We didn't know exactly what we were getting into."

While deployed, the units continued the mission and flew more A-10 sorties than ever before, said Ashby.

"It felt good being there and helping the greater good," said Airman Kenneth Barnes, 23rd EMS armament and weapon systems. "It was a harsh place and deployments are not fun. It seemed like we had to put up with a lot of stuff, but now that we are home, it was all worth it."

As the Airmen got off the busses they were greeted by a grateful crowd of friends and family members holding up "welcome home" signs and cheering them on.

"I'm so grateful that he is back home," said Jones. "A lot of things can happen over there. We are so proud and to see him wearing that uniform is wonderful."

For a nation at war, deployments are nothing new to Service members. As this group of Airmen return home to spend time with their family and friends another group of Airmen will be sent to continue the mission.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kevin Lukowiak, 74th Fighter Squadron, shakes hands with Col. Christopher Short, 23rd Wing vice commander, after returning home from deployment Oct. 6, 2011, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. More than 300 Moody Airmen returned from a six-month deployment to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, where they supported Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter) Hi-res


See also:

Moody troops return from Afghanistan
By Dave Miller
Posted: Oct 06, 2011 3:19 PM
Updated: Oct 06, 2011 4:29 PM

Information from the USAF, Moody AFB

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - Over 200 members of the 23rd Maintenance Group and 23rd Fighter Group from Moody Air Force Base are returning home from a deployment to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan this week.

The Airmen maintained, equipped and flew the A-10C Thunderbolt II, providing the A-10's unparalleled air to ground capabilities in support of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in Afghanistan.

All their operations for the last six months were in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Moody is the home of the Air Force's legendary "Flying Tigers" and continues that tradition today with over 1300 Airmen deployed around the world supporting contingency operations.

Last year, 23rd Wing assets provided combat air support missions, as well as rescue, and medical evacuation support resulting in over 1,800 lives saved in Afghanistan.


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