About 100 airmen from McChord’s 7th Airlift Squadron left this week to take the place of their comrades from the 8th Airlift Squadron, who are due home in the next week or so after a four-month deployment in Germany, Turkey, Iraq and the ‘Stans.
All four of McChord’s active-duty flying squadrons from the 62nd Airlift Wing are responsible for making up the numbers in the deployed 817th Expeditionary Airlift Wing.
In a McChord press release, the 7th’s commander, Lt. Col. Brian Newberry said:
“We are excited to go help our joint partners by delivering the ‘stuff to the fight’ as a deployed airlift squadron. Living and working along side our Army partners at Fort Lewis, we understand the important mission we are jointly committed to in the Global War on Terror. We’ll be flying missions into the area of operations every day, delivering troops and supplies and keeping convoys off the roads. This is why we proudly serve.”
The 817th is headquartered at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and is responsible for “scheduling, planning and executing all C-17 missions into the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility including Afghanistan and Iraq,” the base release said.
UPDATE: About 130 airmen returned home to McChord Monday night, the base said. While they were deployed with the 817th, the squadron flew three airdrop missions to troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, numerous aeromedical evacuation flights and hundreds of other sorties.
On their return, the 8th Squadron operations officer, Lt. Col. Al Miller, said:
“I am extremely proud of the combat airlifters of the mighty 8th Airlift Squadron. The accomplishments of these outstanding airmen flying combat missions in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are a result of their superior attitudes, dedication and exceptional professionalism.”
McChord has more than 800 airmen deployed around the world for war and humanitarian missions, the base said in a news release.