News: Airmen welcomed back from overseas operations
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Smith
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - The 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard welcomed home nearly 50 air crew, maintainers and other airmen here Wednesday, Nov. 7 from a 90-day deployment supporting Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.
“I want to thank you for your service and thank your families for their support in what you do,” Col. Michael Pankau, Wing commander said to the airmen who arrived on one of the Wing’s C-130 aircraft in what was a sunny afternoon here. “Welcome home.”
A large group of family and friends gathered just off the airport flight line and waited for the aircraft. It landed around noon and parked a few yards away from them.
When the side door opened, the deployed airmen stepped out to cheers, signs and handshakes from Wing leaders and loved ones.
The deployed members left Rosecrans Air National Guard Base July 4 and returned just short of another patriotic holiday: Veterans Day.
Overseas, the squadron’s accomplishments included airlift support for overseas contingency operations across Southwest Asia. The citizen-airmen flew thousands of sorties and flight hours with mission completion rates in the mid to upper 90 percent range, which were called by some as the highest rates ever flown there.
They were also praised overseas for their professionalism and proficiency with some Airmen setting mission records or achieving honor roles in their service.
“We’ve been doing this for many years now,” said Col. David Halter, Operations Group commander, who greeted the Airmen at the aircraft. “It’s always nice to get everyone home safe.”