JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - More than 80 Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing's 14th Airlift Squadron returned home to Joint Base Charleston Monday morning after having completed their latest deployment to Southwest Asia.
"It was two nine hour flights basically to get home today," said Lt. Col. Matt Leard. "We were a deployed airlift squadron so, we were primarily at this point flying things out of Afghanistan in support of the President's withdrawal timeline."
Altogether, the crews flew and supported 1,285 missions, logged more than 3,000 combat flying hours and airlifted more than 40 million pounds of cargo and more than 23,000 personnel throughout the region.
"We were gone just over 50 days but, it was great," said Lt. Col. Charles Polomsky. "We did a lot of important stuff. Especially with the retrograde stuff out of Afghanistan."
Monday, dozens of family members and kids wore red, white and blue as they awaited their arrival.
"This is my first time where he was deployed and we had a kid. And, so it was really cool to see how he [their son] reacted," said Jacque Hince, whose husband Peter was deployed. "I mean he like took off to go see him and won't leave him."
The unit's return marks the first time in almost 10 years that all four airlift squadrons will be in Charleston at once. Previously, the return of one unit coincided with the departure of another; however, a recent schedule change results in all four squadrons being home for a short period.
"You always think of the things you missed over the last 50 days you've been gone, but to get hugs from them is well-worth it," said Polomsky. "Getting ready to spend some quality time with them now that we are back."
While deployed, the Airmen of the 14th AS served under the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron supporting overseas contingency operations.