News: Fort Smith ANG airmen head home
Story by Capt. Raymond Geoffroy
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -- Redeployment can be an emotional experience; a time for reflection and adjustment. For some Arkansas Air National Guard airmen from Fort Smith, Ark., it's also a family affair.
Arkansas National Guard A-10 Thunderbolt II aircrews and maintainers began their journey home this week after successfully completing their deployment with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.
In their time at Bagram, Ark. ANG airmen ensured the 184th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's A-10 "Warthogs" flew combat missions daily, providing close-air support to NATO and Afghan ground forces operating in Afghanistan.
During the deployment, Ark. ANG A-10s delivered more than 60,000 30mm cannon rounds and more than 250 precision munitions on targets in support of coalition forces.
184 EFS leadership said the Air National Guardsmen can return home knowing their hard work resulted in positive effects on the battlefield here in Afghanistan.
"Since we've been here, in three months supporting the ATO, we've flown over 7,500 hours with the aircraft that are here. With a comparable number of aircraft back home, in a training scenario, we would fly than half of that," said Lt. Col. Brian Burger, 184th EFS commander. "The OPS tempo has been extremely high for us. The maintainers have done a superb job keeping these airplanes flying."
Due to the close knit, localized nature of the Air National Guard, the homecoming team of airmen features several family members who deployed and now are returning together to Afghanistan.
A1C Sean Liggett deployed to the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron with his father, Master Sgt. William Liggett.
Master Sgt. Liggett said he was very proud of his son for the hard work he did during the deployment.
"It's something I've always wanted to do. I've always looked up to my dad when I was younger," said A1C Liggett.
For Master Sgt. Liggett, this deployment is his last hurrah; he just received his retirement paperwork. However, his son's Air Force career has just begun; A1C Liggett deployed shortly after completing his technical training.
"I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and I'm glad I finally took that step and got to go on his last deployment and my first. It's been a real blessing," said A1C Liggett.
The father and son team said they are ready to return to their awaiting family in Mulberry, Ark.