MADISON, WI (ANG Public Affairs) - The Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing welcomed home some of its fellow Airmen following a two-month deployment to Africa on Monday, March 11.
The Airmen returned to a packed hanger at Truax Field in Madison, Wis., where they were welcomed by Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Air National Guard's top leadership, friends, and loved ones.
"This is an outstanding group of Airmen," said Lt. Col. Brian Parker, the deployed detachment commander. "We met 100 percent of our taskings and executed our mission flawlessly."
Parker presented Walker with a Wisconsin flag that had flown over the deployment camp and in an F-16 on a combat support mission, as a thank-you to the governor for his support.
All told, the 115th Fighter Wing flew more than 550 hours, completed more than 275 sorties and participated in more than 25 sorties with French air-to-air and air-to-ground fighter integration. Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, the 115th Fighter Wing commander, thanked both the fighter wing members for their hard work and their families for their continued support.
"I'm very proud of the men and women of the fighter wing," Wiegand said. "Welcome home - enjoy your well-deserved time off."
"There is no finer unit for a mission like this than for the men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard," Walker said. "You continue the legacy of those great Americans that came from Wisconsin that knew when duty called, you answer that call."
Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, thanked the families of the just-returned Airmen for their support - "I know firsthand how difficult it can be to say good-bye to your loved ones, whether it's for a day or a couple of months like this deployment," he said - and noted that troop support comes from beyond the family nucleus.
"I want to ask the Airmen, when you go back to your job, please - on my behalf, on your behalf, on behalf of the Air National Guard - thank your employer," Dunbar said. "Because just like your families, without the support of your employers the National Guard just could not do what it does so well for our nation."
While 60 days may not be considered a long deployment to some, many families present couldn't wait to welcome home their loved ones.
"I've done this many times before," said Joy Seibel, whose husband Master Sgt. Peter Seibel has deployed four times previously. This deployment was more difficult for their children, however.
"This is the first time they've been able to understand it," Joy explained.
This is the fourth Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment in the last seven years for the 115th Fighter Wing. The unit previously deployed to Iraq in 2006, 2008 and 2009.