Wisconsin Airmen return home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode
  • 115th Fighter Wing

More than 200 Airmen assigned to the 115th Fighter Wing and the 378th Fighter Squadron were welcomed home from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan during a return ceremony in Hangar 406 Nov. 9.

The Airmen were integral in supporting Operation Freedom Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support during their four month tour.

“Airmen of the 176th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, from the moment you arrived at Bagram Air Base, your outstanding performance, attitude, and effort resulted in immediate positive impacts,” said Col. Erik Peterson, 115th FW commander. “You executed 100% of your air tasking order missions. Our maintenance team performed their role flawlessly as a sorti generation powerhouse, while our pilots’ skilled performance under the most demanding situations provided strategic impact to the furthering of United States objectives in Northern Afghanistan.”

Peterson received a personal note from Brig. Gen. R. Scott Jobe, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, regarding the Airmen while they were deployed

“The dedication of your Airmen in the fighter squadron to the flight line is truly inspiring,” Jobe said. “I witnessed attention to detail, devotion to duty, and exquisite discipline in all things. Your team taught me the latest and greatest in tactics. I know what right looks like, and the leadership of that team is right. The 176 EFS is the finest F-16 unit I have encountered.”

In addition to Jobe’s kind words, Peterson indicated others who were awed by the unit’s overseas performance. Brig. Gen. Michael E. Martin, the deputy commanding general for NATO Special Operations Component Command and Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, sent the United States Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein, a 2-page letter that concluded with a praise that the 176th EFS was directly responsible for changing the tide of the war in the TAAC-North region of Afghanistan.

 “He finished his letter to the chief, and I quote, ‘The 176 EFS represented our nation and service with honor and the highest professionalism,” Peterson said.

During Peterson’s speech, he also gave a shoot-out to the families and friends of those deployed for their continuous and unwavering support.

“When your loved one is deployed, they often miss day-to-day life events, birthdays, anniversaries, parties and celebrations,” he said. “I want you to know that the 115th Fighter Wing and the state of Wisconsin are grateful that these brave men and women have answered our nation’s call to help defend freedom and are trained to be the best our total force has to offer to our community, state and nation.”

He concluded with a message directed toward the leaders of the state, who were also in attendance.

“General Dunbar and Governor Evers, whether in Wisconsin, somewhere within the United States, or halfway across the world in Afghanistan,” Peterson said. “I know that you can count on the Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing to do an outstanding job and continue to show the world that we are a premier fighter wing with outstanding Airmen who are trained, ready and dedicated.”