130th AW Members Return from Afghanistan

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

U.S. Air Force 130th Airlift Wing Air National Guardsmen return home Feb. 18, 2009, to Air National Guard Base Yeager in Charleston, W.V., after a lengthy deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William John Hinamon/Released)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Approximately 200 airmen from the 130th Airlift Wing returned home to Charleston, West Virginia late February following a deployment to Afghanistan. Members left home the beginning of January to support Operation Enduring Freedom as part of their Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) mission. 

The AEF concept of continually deploying Air units on a rotation schedule is the response to the increasing number of contingencies that call for worldwide deployments of military forces. As part of this mission, forces are presented in a consistent manner and conduct military operations across the spectrum of conflict. The 130th AW deployed members of the base from Operations, Maintenance, Logistics Readiness Squadron and Medical Group. Though a handful of 130th members will remain in Afghanistan the full duration, most members were able to return home after only 45 days because the AEF fulfillment was shared with other units. Between the units, the entire AEF requirement is covered. 

The 130th AW traveled over a course of four days, stopping to rest and refuel before their arrival at the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan. The 455th primary mission is to support the Global War on Terror by providing aerial support for the United States and coalition forces on the ground in Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Upon arrival, members flew and supported tactical airlift missions in which they air-dropped and moved troops, equipment and supplies. Air crew utilized the latest technology available for their navigational airdrop system. Maj. Timothy Mewes, navigator for the 130th, served as the chief of tactics in Afghanistan. During the deployment, Maj. Mewes was able to contact his family via phone and email, as were all members. His wife commented, "The hardest thing is knowing he's not coming home to put the kids in bed." The couple has young children who were happy to be reunited with their father February 22nd upon his return to Charleston. 

130th members worked seven-day weeks at 12 hours a day; sometimes longer. They were bedded down in semi-hardened facilities and were fortunate to have beds to sleep on instead of cots. The dining facility was contracted out and the food served was reported to be outstanding, which is always a major morale factor for military members away from home. The weather was cold and wet, so it wasn't hard for members to adjust considering they came from similar weather in Charleston. "Given the weather conditions while flying, we put our best foot forward and excelled," said Master Sgt. George Saunders. Master Sgt. Saunders, a 1st Sgt. in the130th Operations Group was the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron 1st Sgt while deployed. He added that the 455th Operations Group Commander, Col. Strausberger, commented that the 130th AW did an outstanding job and was very impressed with the unit's ability to adapt to changing situations. 

The cold weather on the trip home delayed some of the flights from returning members as scheduled. Nonetheless, each flight returned home to a large, anticipating crowd of family and friends who gathered inside the 130th Fire Department facility to keep out of the cold. Emotions poured from their faces at the sight of the C-130H aircrafts that were carrying their loved ones. Capt. Jamie Aguilar's daughter waited anxiously for him to scoop her up into his arms. She ate an M&M candy for each day Capt. Aguilar was gone. This was a way her mother arranged for her to count down the days until she would see her father again. Capt. Aguiler is a navigator for the 130th and has had six family members serve in the Air National Guard, so his family is no stranger to deployments. 

It is always difficult for family and friends when military members deploy away from home, no matter the duration, but they are well trained to do the jobs they enlisted to do and the camaraderie among the 130th members keeps morale high. The unit always anticipates a safe return of their airmen and is proud of the outstanding job they do.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.