113th Airmen return home from Iraq

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Tyrell Heaton
  • 113WG Public Affairs
One hundred forty Airmen from the 113th Wing were welcomed home after a 52 day deployment to the Middle East April 6.

Airmen from the Maintenance Group, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Operations Group and Medical Group returned home from an AEF rotation in Balad, Iraq where they supported ground movements and provided air support during the volatile national elections in Iraq.

During their deployment the 113th flew 425 combat sorties totaling more than 1,400 combat flying hours.

"We mainly provided counter IED (Improvised Explosive Device), counter IDF (Indirect Fire) and convoy support for the surge in support of the Iraqi elections," said Lt. Col. Kirk Pierce, Operations Commander during the AEF. "We encountered three shows of force over Mosul, Iraq on March 7, the election day," he added.

The 113 was joined by 73 other members of the National Guard, Active and Reserve components of the Air Force truly making it a rainbow of effort. The main contingency of augmentees was from the South Dakota Air National Guard.

"Several members of the 113th volunteered to stay behind to support the New Jersey Air National Guard who replaced the 113th for the next AEF," said Lt. Col. Pierce. "Even though we're back home we can't forget our members who are still over there; our Security Forces are still in Riydah, Saudi Arabia and one member from Public Affairs is currently forward deployed in Baghdad," he added.

This wasn't the first deployment these Airmen have done to this area, several have been there two, even three times.

"It was nice to see what has changed since the last time we were there," said Capt. Danny Hull, 113 Operations Group. "It was very safe and we knew before we went that we'd be gone two months, the first time we didn't know how long we would be gone; we're there to support the Soldiers on the ground because they are the ones doing the real work," he added.