Airlifters Return From Afghan Deployment

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Joseph Winter
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
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.