Pilots, jets from Shaw 77th back from Afghanistan

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AP) - About two dozen pilots and F-16 Fighting Falcon jets from the 77th Fighter Squadron are back home at Shaw Air Force Base after a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mosness said the pilots and aircraft of the unit dubbed "The Gamblers" returned Tuesday afternoon.

The unit suffered the loss of 1 of its pilots, Capt. James Steel, three weeks ago when his F-16 crashed in Afghanistan. Steel was returning to the base in Kandahar from a close air support mission for ground troops.

Remaining members of the Gambler Aircraft Maintenance unit and the 20th Operations Support Squadron are returning later this week.

Mosness says a memorial for Steel is scheduled for April 30.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.