23rd Fighter Squadron begins its return to Spangdahlem
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The bulk of the 23rd Fighter Squadron will return home to Spangdahlem Air Base this week after being deployed to the Persian Gulf region for more than two months, officials said Tuesday.
Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 23rd returned to the base on Labor Day. Six more fighters and more than 200 airmen assigned to the squadron, known as the “Fighting Hawks,” will return to Spangdahlem later this week, said Capt. Diane Weed, a spokeswoman for the 52nd Fighter Wing, the base’s host unit.
The pilots provided close-air support to ground forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, she said, with pilots also helping ground forces identify roadside bombs.
The planes launched from a base in Qatar, a small Persian Gulf nation that borders Saudi Arabia, officials said.
The wing has had two squadrons deployed this summer: the 81st Fighter Squadron is operating from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
The squadron, which includes more than 110 support personnel, left in May for the four-month deployment.
Earlier this year, the base deployed nearly 1,000 people as part of a regular rotation.