By Staff Sgt. David Owsianka, Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter and Wendy Kilmer
The completion of two deployments from Dyess Air Force Base resulted in long-awaited homecomings and happy reunions this spring. The airmen and aircraft of the 317th Airlift Wing returned Jan. 18 from a deployment to Afghanistan, and the airmen of the 7th Bomb Wing returned March 11 from a deployment to Al Udeid, Qatar.
Both groups were welcomed home by family members, friends and members of the Abilene community.
During its six-month deployment, the 7th Bomb Wing supported three different operations – Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Deliberate Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. While there, the team flew 390 sorties, totaling 4,471 hours flown, with an effectiveness rate of 96 percent, and completed 920 airstrikes that destroyed more than 1,760 targets. Approximately 350 service members were a part of the deployment.
The 317th Airlift Wing executed over 2,700 sorties at a 99.5 percent Air Tasking Order rate during their deployment. The Screaming Eagles also flawlessly executed seven airdrops and six major joint operations. The airmen worked together to haul more than 10,000 tons of cargo. They were also able to execute transporting almost 200 distinguished visitors and nearly 100 medical patients to safe locations. They accomplished resupplying remote locations, combat airdrops and helped in validating rescue units with training jumps.
“We are extremely proud of the performance by our members of the 317th Air Wing during this deployment,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Allen, 40th Airlift Squadron commander. “They performed at the highest level in the combat zone across all our mission sets, from saving lives during urgent aeromedical evacuation missions to setting recent records for the fastest emergency airdrop to resupply our joint forces. I love that they do it as a team with the highest character and professionalism.”
Family, friends, fellow airmen and leadership awaited the incoming airmen as they arrived back to Dyess Air Force Base after their time away.
“I’m very excited to see my husband,” said Danielle Breedlove, as she waited on the flight line. She is the spouse of Capt. Bradly Breedlove, 40th airlift squadron pilot. “I’m looking forward to seeing our daughter run into his arms and having her be able to spend time with him again.”