01/08/10 — More airmen expected back to base today

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More airmen expected back to base today

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 8, 2010 1:46 PM

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Families wait for their loved ones in a hangar on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Tuesday as hundreds of members of the 335th Chiefs returned from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. More airmen are expected to return today.

The 4th Fighter Wing's fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles -- and the men and women who make them fly -- are expected to touch down on the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base flight line early this afternoon.

And by the end of the evening, all members of the 335th Chiefs will have completed a more-than-four-month tour in Afghanistan, officials said.

Hundreds of airmen are already back in Goldsboro, having returned earlier this week to an emotional crowd of family members, friends, comrades and local dignitaries.

Similar scenes are expected just after noon when the jets and air crews return, and later this evening when the maintainers who made sure the fleet got home safely touch down.

The Chiefs' deployment has been characterized as "excellent" by members of the 4th's leadership team -- a review backed up by the two Silver Stars and six Distinguished Flying Crosses awarded to the unit during nearly 6,500 flight hours that were made possible by wing maintainers and other support staff.

For complete coverage of today's homecomings -- interviews with airmen and family members, a video report and photo gallery -- follow www.newsargus.com or see Sunday's print edition.