Kentucky Air National Guard members return from deployment on July 4th

  • Published
  • By Maj. Allison Stephens
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
More than sixty members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing received an Independence Day welcome when they returned home yesterday after completing a four-month deployment to the Persian Gulf.

The Airmen, who arrived aboard Kentucky Air Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, were greeted by a crowd of more than a hundred family and friends.

For 1st Lt. Nick Anderson, the homecoming was especially heartfelt. The first-time deployer was reunited with his infant daughter, who was only 12 days old when he left for the overseas mission in February.

“Making sure my family was supported weighed heavily on me during the deployment, but knowing I was coming home to them gave me strength,” he said. “This deployment was a lot of hard work, but all of our training and preparation paid off.”

Dad, mom and daughter said they plan to spend the rest of the holiday relaxing together.

“I look forward to telling them about my experiences and hearing about all the things I missed.”

Yesterday's group of returning Airmen operated from an undisclosed air base while deployed, flying troops and cargo across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which includes Afghanistan and the Middle East.

The wing began deploying its aircraft and Airmen to the Persian Gulf area last fall, activating approximately one-third of the wing’s troops to serve on tours ranging from two to six months. More than 100 members of the wing remain deployed worldwide supporting a full spectrum of mission such as logistics, maintenance, human resources, security forces, public affairs and finance. They are expected to return later this summer.

“This is a proud day for our wing, and I’m grateful to have these Airmen home,” said Col. Jeff Wilkinson, wing commander. “In addition to being away from their families, many of them had to leave their civilian jobs to deploy. I thank their families and their civilian employers for their support.”

The deployment marks the seventh time in the past 16 years that the Kentucky Air National Guard has sent its aircraft, aircrews and maintenance personnel to support U.S. military operations in the U.S. Central Command AOR. The wing deployed aviation assets there in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015 operating from multiple undisclosed locations and Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. Since Sept. 11, 2001 the Kentucky Air National Guard has deployed Airmen to more than 40 countries worldwide, logging over 400,000 days of service.