Fort Smith ANG airmen head home

455th Air Expeditionary Wing
Story by Capt. Raymond Geoffroy

Date: 10.09.2012
Posted: 10.09.2012 11:23
News ID: 95883
Fort Smith ANG airmen head home

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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> "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."<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> A1C Sean Liggett deployed to the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron with his father, Master Sgt. William Liggett. <br /> <br /> Master Sgt. Liggett said he was very proud of his son for the hard work he did during the deployment. <br /> <br /> "It's something I've always wanted to do. I've always looked up to my dad when I was younger," said A1C Liggett. <br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> "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.<br /> <br /> The father and son team said they are ready to return to their awaiting family in Mulberry, Ark.