A Joint Base Lewis-McChord airlift squadron is coming home tomorrow from a four-month deployment that included a couple milestones for the war in Afghanistan and for the planes the airmen fly.
The airmen from McChord Field’s 4th Airlift Squadron delivered the first M1 Abrams tanks to Marines in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. That delivery gained international headlines because it gave a sense for the fighting Marines have encountered there, and it reminded some of the Soviet Union’s use of tanks its occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Airmen from the squadron also participated in a mission that marked the 2 millionth hour in flight for the C-17 Globemaster III, the workhorse cargo plane based at McChord. The Air Force has had the C-17 in flight since 1993, and the model has flown 1 million miles since March 2006.
The McChord airmen supported American missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Africa during their latest deployment. They’re expected to come home some time Wednesday evening.
“The entire team, top to bottom, simply did an outstanding job. I’m really proud of this group of Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Ira Cline, commander of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.