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130th Airlift Wing returns home from deployment

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017.

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017. More than 100 members of the unit’s Operations, Maintenance, and Support group, as well as the 167th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, deployed earlier this summer. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Caleb Vance)

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017.

Members of the 130th Airlift Wing return from an overseas deployment Nov. 6, 2017. Family and friends gathered at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. to welcome to men and women home from their tour in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Holli Nelson)

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017.

Members of the 130th Airlift Wing return from an overseas deployment Nov. 6, 2017. Family and friends gathered at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. to welcome to men and women home from their tour in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Holli Nelson)

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017.

The remaining members of the 130th Airlift Wing’s overseas deployment in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel return home to McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, W.Va. Nov. 4 through 7, 2017. More than 100 members of the unit’s Operations, Maintenance, and Support group, as well as the 167th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, deployed earlier this summer. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Caleb Vance)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Overall, the 130th AW supported worldwide contingency operations by providing tactical airlift, cargo and personnel transportation, and medical support, among other mission critical operations.

“The deployment was a really great experience and just felt good to be out there doing the real thing, performing the mission,” said Staff Sgt. Neil Lindsay, an Airman deployed with the 130th Maintenance Group. “Also, defending our families and being a part of something bigger than ourselves was so rewarding.”

While overseas, the 130th AW integrated into the Air Force’s Total Force alongside partners from the 133rd Airlift Wing from Minnesota, as well as active duty and other ANG and Air Force Reserve members.

“The West Virginia and Minnesota units came together to produce outstanding results during this deployment,” said Maj. Joseph Hennessy, the deployed Officer-In-Charge at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. “Airmen from the 130th AW and 133rd AW set a three year record for mission capable rate while flying the most sorties in five years, and that only happens with complete determination and pure grit.”

The 130th Maintenance and Operation Groups were instrumental in the success of the mission in various aspects, including improving the deployed location’s previous 12 month Full Mission Capability (FMC) rate from 87 percent to 98.8 percent, flying a five-year-high of 526 sorties in the month of July alone, and broke the previous record for each month throughout the deployment. Additionally, from June 28th to Oct. 19th, the aircraft totaled more than 1,500 hours in theater supporting overseas operations.

“I could not be more proud or honored to have worked with some of the finest aircraft mechanics in the Air National Guard,” added Hennessy. “I could only be so fortunate to someday again have the opportunity to deploy with the women and men of the 130th Airlift Wing.”

The 167th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) also provided support in efforts from transporting civilian and military members to a military hospital from the deployed area, to removing injured assets from the line of duty and providing care.

While overseas, the Airmen from the 167th AES were sent all over the world. From Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and even coming back to the United States, they traveled wherever they were needed from the deployed location to complete the mission and save lives.

“The accomplishments that the men and women of the 130th Airlift Wing achieved during this deployment are a testament to their hard work and dedication to the mission,” said Col. Johnny Ryan, 130th AW commander. “They are all true professionals, in every sense of the word, and I’m proud to welcome them back home to West Virginia and congratulation them on a job well done.”

The 130th AW contributes at both the state and national levels, as well as worldwide. With outstanding will, and commitment to serve, the 130th AW continues to display mission readiness in both large-scale and smaller, one off deployments around the globe. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 130th AW has deployed every year in support of contingency operations.

From nurses and students to mechanics and full-time pilots, these deployments highlight the uniqueness of the Air National Guard’s Citizen-Airmen.
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