Support our mission
 
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
F-16s from the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, make their approach in formation over Aviano's airfield during the Squadron's redeployment, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The returning airmen were deployed for about six months to Afghanistan.
F-16s from the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, make their approach in formation over Aviano's airfield during the Squadron's redeployment, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The returning airmen were deployed for about six months to Afghanistan. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Family members of redeploying airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, excitedly await the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Family members await for the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. This redeployment only included a portion of the Buzzard team. The rest of the deployed 510 FS members will be returning from Afghanistan to Aviano in the upcoming weeks.
Family members await for the arrival of their loved ones at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. This redeployment only included a portion of the Buzzard team. The rest of the deployed 510 FS members will be returning from Afghanistan to Aviano in the upcoming weeks. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, the "Buzzards", shows the Buzzard's claws to loved ones awaiting the arrival of the squadron at Aviano's airfield.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, the "Buzzards", shows the Buzzard's claws to loved ones awaiting the arrival of the squadron at Aviano's airfield. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, "Buzzards," 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, hugs and kisses his son during the redeployment of the squadron at Aviano's airfield, April 30.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, "Buzzards," 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, hugs and kisses his son during the redeployment of the squadron at Aviano's airfield, April 30. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
Brig. Gen. Daniel T. Lasica, Commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, greets Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, the forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, at Aviano's airfield, April 30.
Brig. Gen. Daniel T. Lasica, Commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, greets Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, the forward deployed commander of the 510th Fighter Squadron, at Aviano's airfield, April 30. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)
F-16s assigned to the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, arrived at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The returning airmen were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and NATO's Resolute Support mission, for about six months.
F-16s assigned to the 510th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, arrived at Aviano's airfield, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. The returning airmen were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and NATO's Resolute Support mission, for about six months. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Airmen with the 510th Fighter Squadron returned to Aviano Air Base on Tuesday after a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

The “Buzzards” deployment was in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

“While in Afghanistan, the 510th’s mission was to defend the two busiest airfields in Afghanistan, Bagram and Kandahar, as well as to support the premier counterterrorism wing, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and its partners,” 1st Lt. Danielle D. Lucero, a public affairs officer with the 31st Fighter Wing, said in a statement.

Family members, friends and colleagues made the walk from the squadron’s headquarters, down to the hangers, to greet their returning loved ones. Even some members of the local tail spotter groups were on hand to greet the arriving airmen and snap some photos.

“I think that the contributions the 510 FS team provided while deployed made a huge difference,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Freeborn, the forward deployed commander. “I couldn’t be prouder of the entire Buzzard team.”

“We got to meet many of the teams that we provided direct close air support to throughout our deployment. They made it clear to us that our contributions meant a lot to them,” Freeborn said.

The Buzzards provided the air support to ensure NATO forces can focus on their training missions, while also targeting terrorist groups, Lucero said.

This redeployment only included a portion of the Buzzard team. The rest of the deployed servicemembers will be returning to Aviano in the next few weeks.

llamas.norman@stripes.com

Migrated
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up