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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Nine members of the 374th Security Forces Squadron returned Friday from a six-month deployment to Baghdad, according to a 374th Airlift Wing news release.

During the deployment, the team conducted mounted and dismounted patrols and handled traffic control. The airmen also helped carry out raids targeting suspected terrorists.

"We patrolled Iraq looking for illegal weapons, contraband and unauthorized people," Tech. Sgt. Michael Esquar, a squadron flight chief, said in the release.

Senior Airman Charlecia Martin said she gained a newfound respect for her job and the U.S. military as a whole.

"Iraq was a rewarding experience," she said in the release. "We met the families in the neighborhood and formed bonds that became helpful because they would point out suspicious activities and people."

The Yokota airmen also responded to mortar, rocket and roadside bomb attacks.

Airman 1st Class Andrew Stout said he was out on patrol during a rocket attack a few weeks before the group left Iraq.

"My partner and I were doing checks when we heard a loud explosion that shocked us. We immediately went to our patrol vehicle and searched for the explosion," he said in the release.

"When we arrived on scene at the complex, we asked if anyone was hurt. They responded ‘yes’ so I got the first aid kit and went to the casualties. One man had a wounded chest while the other had shrapnel in his lower extremities. I dressed the man with the chest wound and treated the other for shock and shrapnel wounds."

Stout was decorated by the Army for his actions.


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