60 Airmen from the Delaware Air Guard to come home Saturday, Armed Forces Day, aboard three C-130 unit aircraft after missions to Germany and Southwest Asia

Release Number: 030507

Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

Unit members remain active overseas with nearly 50 unit Airmen still deployed in combat zones

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing
Cell 302-593-2126, or office 302-323-3369
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2007-05-003 [corrected Release No.]
May 16, 2007

News media are invited to base for photography with some opportunities to interview returning Airmen and families. Call ahead to Public Affairs. Advise media to arrive no later than 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Call cell number above Friday PM or Saturday AM for updates on arrival time.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CASTLE - On Saturday afternoon, May 19, 2007 nearly 60 Airmen from the Delaware Air National Guard will arrive home aboard three C-130 transport aircraft to the New Castle Airport, in New Castle, Delaware after completing a variety of missions in Europe and Southwest Asia.

A month-long mission began April 16 to support Operation Joint Forge, a contingency operation serving United Nations peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans, a region of southeastern Europe that includes Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ramstein Air Base, Germany was the base of operations.

Also coming home are a dozen Airmen who during the last month completed another ongoing C-130 transport airlift mission to a forward deployed undisclosed location in Southwest Asia to support the global war on terrorism. A dozen unit Airmen and a fourth unit C-130 aircraft are remaining in Southwest Asia in support of this mission.

The total returning Airmen from both missions include over 20 aircrew plus about 40 maintenance and support personnel from the 166th Airlift Wing and additional passengers from other Air National Guard units.

The Joint Forge mission was a scheduled deployment to relieve other Air National Guard and Air Force personnel serving as part of the mission, serving under the U.S. European Command.

An earlier Joint Forge mission began Feb. of this year and ended five weeks later in March but included just one aircraft and five aircrew members. The Delaware ANG began supporting Operation Joint Forge in 1994, followed by deployments in 1997, 2000 and 2001. As directed, aircraft in Operation Joint Forge fly from Ramstein Air Base on various missions to bases in Europe and the Balkan countries in support of American and NATO forces, transporting personnel, equipment, and supplies. Joint Forge aircraft have also been used to support humanitarian operations throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa due to natural disasters.

Since January, 35 additional Airmen, all medical evacuation specialists from the Delaware Air National Guard have been serving a 120-day Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and will return home in June. This is the largest single deployment of Airmen from this aeromedical unit since Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Major General Francis Vavala, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard, said, "Our Delaware National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are a crucial part of our nation's defense. The return of these Airmen to home and family on Armed Forces Day is an appropriately symbolic and worthy recognition of the dedicated service these Airman-warriors perform."

Colonel Jonathan Groff, Air Commander of the 166th Airlift Wing, noted how active the unit remained. "Earlier this month, we had almost 15 crews worth of personnel from the 142nd Airlift Squadron and the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed somewhere in the world. That's 15 out of our 25 airlift and aeromedical flight crews deployed. And that doesn't even include the numerous maintenance, intelligence, and support personnel that were also deployed. The 166th Airlift Wing had 166 personnel deployed, which is nearly the same number of flight crews and personnel deployed in March of 2003 for the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Col. Groff. "Our operations tempo remains high, and these Airmen, supported by their families, provide constant service to our state and nation year-round, and around the world."

Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Breighner, a 21-year veteran and chief navigator in the142nd Airlift Squadron, will complete his final flight, an Air Force tradition also known as a 'fini-flight.' It is his last chance to fly as part of the aircrew on a military mission. He is a resident of Clifton, Va.

This is the first return of Delaware Air National Guard Airmen since the introduction of the Airman's Creed on April 18, 2007 by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. According to Gen. Moseley, the Airman's Creed provides Airmen a tangible statement of beliefs that they can hold most dear. The Airman's Creed reflects pride in the role of air, space and cyberspace power and the Air Force's commitment in supporting and defending the nation. The creed is fueled by the Air Force's heritage and a warfighting ethos that exists in all Airmen.

Source: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070418-013.pdf

THE AIRMAN'S CREED

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
I AM A WARRIOR.
I HAVE ANSWERED MY NATION'S CALL.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
MY MISSION IS TO FLY, FIGHT, AND WIN.
I AM FAITHFUL TO A PROUD HERITAGE,
A TRADITION OF HONOR,
AND A LEGACY OF VALOR.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN,
GUARDIAN OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE,
MY NATION'S SWORD AND SHIELD,
ITS SENTRY AND AVENGER.
I DEFEND MY COUNTRY WITH MY LIFE.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN:
WINGMAN, LEADER, WARRIOR.
I WILL NEVER LEAVE AN AIRMAN BEHIND,
I WILL NEVER FALTER,
AND I WILL NOT FAIL.

The Delaware ANG has 990 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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