4th Fighter Wing airmen, F-15Es will soon be home
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 1, 2010 11:37 AM
After more than four months at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, members of the 335th Chiefs will soon board homeward bound aircraft.
4th Fighter Wing officials confirmed earlier this week that by the end of January, hundreds of aviators, maintainers and support staff are expected to return to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base -- marking the end of a year of air power over the desert that came courtesy of the 4th.
The Chiefs left Goldsboro in late August to relieve their sister squadron, the 336th Rocketeers. So when they return, it will mark the first time in a year that all the wing's F-15E Strike Eagles -- and those who make them fly -- will be home.
During an interview in late November, 4th Commander Col. Mark Kelly said he looks forward to welcoming the Chiefs back to Seymour Johnson.
"It will be good to have everybody back here," he said.
Members of the 4th have been at Bagram since April, providing a 24/7 air power presence over Afghanistan in support of troops on the ground -- escorting convoys, responding to troops-in-contact calls with shows of force, and, when necessary, eliminating enemy threats.
And wing Operations Group Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Lance Bunch said they have made 4th leadership proud.
"This combat team has protected countless American soldiers on the ground and made a huge dent in the resolve of the enemy. ...
Every bit of news from the deployed leadership has validated the positive and lasting impact of both the Chiefs and Rockets on the conflict," he said. "We are very proud of how these ... airmen performed under intense combat operations. Not only have (they) flown and generated combat air power, they have volunteered to support "outside the wire" humanitarian operations and have spent countless off-duty hours supporting wounded troops in the Bagram Hospital. ... We are welcoming home some decorated war heroes."
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