Family, friends welcome 4th AS home

By 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on January 6, 2012

More than 120 Airmen from McChord Field's 4th Airlift Squadron were greeted by family and friends Jan. 4 after a 60-day deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

The 4th AS Airmen were deployed as the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in two overseas contingency locations in the Middle East.

Lt. Col. Anthony Angello, who also serves as the 313th Airlift Squadron commander under the 446th Airlift Wing, led the mission. This deployment marked the first time a Reservist commanded an active duty squadron.

"It truly has been an honor and privilege to lead the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron," said Lt. Col. Anthony Angello, 817th EAS commander. "I cannot tell you how proud I am of our active duty and Reserve Airmen who stepped up to the plate for this deployment performed exceptionally well and served our great nation with valor and distinction. In the end, this successful deployment codifies the tremendous synergy our Air Force gains from the active-Reserve associate wing concept. The tremendous effort of all Airmen involved has raised the Total Force performance standards to exceedingly high levels. I am extremely humbled to have been a part of this amazing and historic effort."

During their deployment, the C-17 squadron flew 951 sorties, equaling more than 3,056 hours, moving more than 50,328 passengers and delivering more than 29.9 million pounds of combat sustainment cargo for U.S. military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and operations in East Africa.

"Carrying more than 300 fellow servicemembers each day in support of Operation Enduring Freedom was such a unique and rewarding experience," said Capt. Angela Hearn, 4th AS aircraft commander. "I was extremely pleased that the positive attitude of my crew was directly reflected in the men and women from every branch of service that we transported. The opportunity to work with such dedicated people throughout the C-17 community, under often challenging circumstances, has only reinforced the camaraderie I have become accustomed to as a member of the 4th Airlift Squadron. It is deployments like these that show the importance of total force integration."

According to Airmen of the 817th EAS, the mission would not have been a success without the constant support from loved ones back home, especially during the holidays.

"I think this deployment has epitomized the aspect of Team McChord," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Calhoun, 817th EAS chief loadmaster. "Not to mention we are pretty darn good at what we do. Also, this would not be possible without the support and sacrifices of our families back home. They really deserve the credit for anything that we accomplish. For most of them, this is not their first deployment and I really do think that it is more difficult to stay home with the kids than do what we do. They are heroes, every single one of them. Thank you."

The 62nd AW's four active-duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously. The deployments allow Air Mobility Command to consistently position assets closer to the areas of responsibility.