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Airlifters Return From Afghan Deployment

U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Myers, a C-130J pilot with the Maryland Air National Guard, hugs his wife, Holly, on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Captain Myers supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Myers, a C-130J pilot with the Maryland Air National Guard, hugs his wife, Holly, on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Captain Myers supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Marino welcomes airmen from the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Airlift Group on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transportating of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. Dan Marino welcomes airmen from the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Airlift Group on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transportating of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Captains Chris Myers and Erik Weinrich , C-130J pilots  with the Maryland Air National Guard, hug their wives, Katie and Holly, on the flightline at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Myers  and Weinrich supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Captains Chris Myers and Erik Weinrich , C-130J pilots with the Maryland Air National Guard, hug their wives, Katie and Holly, on the flightline at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Myers and Weinrich supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. John Jones of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Maintenance Squadron, hugs his son, Nathan on the flight line on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Sergeant Jones, a C-130 maintainer, and the 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transport supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. John Jones of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Maintenance Squadron, hugs his son, Nathan on the flight line on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Sergeant Jones, a C-130 maintainer, and the 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transport supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Erik Weinrich of the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard, walks down the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Captain Weinrich, a C-130 pilot, supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Erik Weinrich of the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard, walks down the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Captain Weinrich, a C-130 pilot, supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Myers, a C-130J pilot with the Maryland Air National Guard, hugs his wife, Holly, on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Captain Myers supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Myers, a C-130J pilot with the Maryland Air National Guard, hugs his wife, Holly, on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Captain Myers supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released)

Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)
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Airmen from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

Lt Col. Karen Hendrickson from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)
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Lt Col. Karen Hendrickson from the 135th Airlift Group of the Maryland Air National Guard receive a welcome on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. The 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transporting of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeff Sanders of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Maintenance Squadron, hugs a family member on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010.  Airman Sanders, a C-130J engine mechanic, and the 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transportation of supplies and cargo.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeff Sanders of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 135th Maintenance Squadron, hugs a family member on the flightline on Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Md., May 15, 2010. Airman Sanders, a C-130J engine mechanic, and the 135th supported forces fighting in Afghanistan through transportation of supplies and cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/ Released)

BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Air National Guard today announced the return of its Airmen assigned to its 135th Airlift Group, completing a four-month deployment to Afghanistan and bringing to a close the largest combat deployment in the history of the Maryland Air National Guard. The Maryland Air National Guardsmen returned today aboard two aircraft at the unit's home station of Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md.

The Maryland Air Guardsmen deployed in January 2010 as part of a scheduled Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The unit supported the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

The deployed aviation package flew 922 missions encompassing 1,054 flying hours, providing airlift capabilities to U.S. and coalition forces operating as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Missions flown by the unit included airdrops of supplies and equipment to forward operating bases, as well as "dirt strip" landings at remote airfields. During the deployment, the Maryland Air National Guardsmen and their C-130J Hercules aircraft airlifted 4,370 tons of cargo and 14,241 passengers.

The returning Guardsmen were met by an enthusiastic crowd of friends and family. They had originally been expected home earlier in the week, but were delayed by ash in from volcanic activity in Iceland, which has disrupted air travel in Europe in recent weeks.