Yokota airmen deployment ending
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Airlift Wing is gearing up for a homecoming.
About 90 airmen who deployed in support of the war on terrorism are slated to return here Thursday, base officials said. They’re part of a 120-member contingent that left for Southwest Asia in June to fill various roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Some already have returned to Yokota in smaller waves, while others are eyeing a return in the immediate future, said 1st Lt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. But this will be the biggest batch.
“They served their time and are coming back safe,” Comer said. “As far as the deployments are concerned, I’d say it was a success.”
The stints, which lasted about 90 days, were part of a scheduled rotation within the Air Force’s Aerospace Expeditionary Force cycle. Roughly 300 men and women were expected to serve under AEF 9 and 10, Yokota’s largest deployment in recent memory, base officials said in June.
Personnel from several squadrons and agencies are among them, including civil engineer, communications, mission support, wing staff, medical, logistic readiness, maintenance, aircraft maintenance, operational support, air postal, comptroller, weather, security forces, contracting and services.
“Every time we’re called on to support missions around the world, we’re ready and willing to take part in them,” Comer said. “It’s been a great thing. That’s why morale is so high over there right now. People are willing to go and do their part.”
Base officials said Yokota airmen served in numerous locales during the deployments.
“They were mostly in Southwest Asia,” Comer said. “They basically provided support to forces fighting the war on terror in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but they had missions at a number of bases around those areas.
“These missions are going on out there in a wartime environment, so it’s definitely more strenuous than the work they do here.”
Col. Mark Schissler, the 374th Airlift Wing commander, and other senior leaders were to be present Thursday, along with family members of the deployed servicemembers.