Airmen Return from Afghanistan__
Posted at: 10/22/2012 4:57 PM
| Updated at: 10/22/2012 10:51 PM
By: Renee Passal
On Monday afternoon, the first wave of 148th Fighter Wing members who deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan returned to Duluth.
Approximately 50 personnel plus the units F-16s were greeted by families and friends.
This was the Wing's forth major overseas deployment. The 148th previously deployed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2008. It was the first with their new F-16s.
The Mitchell family of three kids and a wife waited anxiously to see the C-17 cargo plane land. Master Sgt. Pat Mitchell has been in the guard for 26 years, but said this deployment wasn't easy.
"It was a little longer, and farther away. It's just harder, as the kids get older, to be away from the and the family," he said. They were going to enjoy time being together as a family again.
His kids, like so many others at the base, held on to their parents as much as possible.
Tech Sgt. Randy Johnson had two kids to hug and kiss when he got home. He reflected on the mission. "It feels really good. We did a lot of good over there. It was worth it. Glad it wasn't longer, two months was enough." His son Alex said he missed his dad when he was away.
In August, 300 airmen from the wing deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom. That's nearly 1/3 of the base. More airmen are expected to come home soon.