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On American soil

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Shoemaker
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
You could hear the anticipation in the air. The hum of the engines on the Boeing 767 was quieted by the excitement of an approaching reunion.

Multiple delays did little to dampen the spirits of friends, family and co-workers who showed up to Bldg. 908 to welcome back more than 200 Airmen from the 7th Fighter Squadron and 49th Maintenance Group from a 9-month deployment to Southwest Asia.

It was a short yet exciting walk from the aircraft ramp to the crowd of people gathered around the exit to the flightline. Some were reunited with their spouses and friends, while others held their children for the very first time, but all were happy to be home.

"While being deployed refocuses you on the mission, it starts to wear on people," said Lt. Col. Larry Broadwell, 7 FS commander. "But at some point you need to come home, you need to recharge the batteries, you need to go through a normal training cycle, and do things at home with the family."

Broadwell was enthusiastic about the success of their mission.

"I am extremely proud of the 7 FS and the 49 MXG. They set a string of firsts for the F-22," he said. "They did it from ground zero, and they did it for almost ten months. When the nation called and they needed someone to stand as a significant deterrent force in the Central Command area of responsibility, the 49th Wing and the F-22s from here did it."

With a successful mission behind them, the Airmen of the 7 FS and 49 MXG will have time to recharge, relax and regenerate before coming back to work and continuing to serve their country.