020618-com-patriot

Family members wait to see Airmen returning from a six-month deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, at the Pride Hangar at Ellsworth AFB on Jan. 29. 

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Donald Knechtel

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE | Ellsworth friends and families welcomed home approximately 350 Airmen on Jan. 29, after a six-month deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission.

"It was great to see our Airmen reunited with their love ones this morning. They performed amazingly during this long and demanding deployment to U.S. Pacific Command." said Col. John Edwards, the 28th Bomb Wing commander. "This was a historical deployment for the 37th Bomb Squadron and 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit in reassuring our allies and deterring adversaries in the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.”

Aviators flew 1,100 hours, completed more than 260 sorties, and dropped 200 bombs in training during the rotation. This deployed presence demonstrated America’s continuing commitment to supporting the Indo-Asia-Pacific regional stability and security.

“It was a very successful deployment,” said Capt. Brandon, a weapons system officer assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron. “We set a lot of records and got a lot of integration with our allies. We even moved farther north into North Korea than we have in the past two decades — a lot of history was made in this deployment.”

During the deployment, a sortie was flown past the Northern Limit Line, which is the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas. This marks the first time in over 20 years that a combat sortie has crossed the Northern Limit Line.

“Missions like this are very important,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Diehl, the 37th Expeditionary Squadron commander. “It shows the world how serious the U.S. is in supporting its allies. It’s crucial we show the world and our allies that we have their back.”

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After a long time away from home, the roughly 350 Airmen have happily reunited with their families and are ready to make up for lost time.

“The 37th BS and Aircraft Maintenance Unit were welcomed by cheering families and teammates reminding them that their efforts over the last six months were astronomical,” said Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, the 28th BW command chief. “Welcoming our deployed men and women assures all 28th BW Airmen that no matter the mission our home station team takes care of family — one team, one fight!”

While the Airmen were ecstatic to be back with their Ellsworth family, they were even more thrilled to be reunited with their loved ones.

“I’m extremely happy to be back home again with my family,” Brandon said. “I just want to thank Ellsworth for the support. I honestly couldn’t do it without the families and friends that support us with the mission. We couldn’t do it without them.”

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