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Hill Airmen return home from Afghanistan

Hill Airmen return home from Afghanistan

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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OGDEN -- As cool as it is to fly F-16s, Mairead Gosnell couldn't wait for her husband to stop and come home--even if its just for a little while.

"You never think you're going to get emotional or upset, and then just being in the van on the way here, I could feel myself getting teary-eyed," Mairead said.

She and several other wives, children and other family members were at Hill Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon to welcome their loved ones home.

Those loved ones are F-16 pilots from Hill's 421st Fighter Squadron. The team had been in Afghanistan for the past three months doing the types of missions you see in war movies.

The pilots flew close to 900 missions in Afghanistan.

"You try not to think about it when they're over there, because you know it's day-to-day," Mairead said. "I just like it when he e-mails me after he lands. That's what I like to hear."

**What is... the 419th Fighter Wing?**![](
The 419th Fighter Wing, comprised of nearly 1,100 personnel, is one of more than 40 flying units in the Air Force Reserve, trained for worldwide combat fighter operations. Its history dates back to the late 1940's and in 1984 became the first Reserve unit to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The wing's mission is, "Fly, Fight and Win." most of whom are reservists who routinely cover contingency deployments while also supporting daily flying operations stateside.
Now, she doesn't have to think about it at all. Her husband, Lt. Colonel Tim Gosnell, was one of 13 pilots who flew his F-16 home Tuesday, and was excited to reunite with the couple's 2-year-old twin girls. "It's awesome. They changed so much. Now they're beautiful, talking little girls. It's wonderful to see them again," Tim Gosnell said.

This mission was also historic for Hill Air Force Base. Before this mission, no F-16 unit from America had ever been to Afghanistan. Since their efforts were a success, there's a good chance some units may go back.

"It's becoming more of an F-16 operating base. They've proven we can operate safely out of Bagram, and they really had a huge impact," said Col. Scott Zobrist, Commander of the 388th Fighter Wing. "In all likelihood, many F-16 units will go back, including other squadrons and our airmen form here at Hill."

Tim Gosnell understands if his team has to go back one day.

**What is... the 388th Fighter Wing?**![](
Approximately 2,200 Airmen and 70 F-16 Fighting Falcons make up the 388th Fighter Wing. In addition to operating and maintaining the Air Force's largest fleet of combat-ready F-16s, the wing oversees the Utah Test and Training Range. The 388th's motto is, "America's Airmen defending our nation at home and abroad... Liberty or Death!" The 388th's history dates back to World War II. It assumed its current designation in 1991.
"We do the job because we love it, and it's what our job is," he said. However, that's in the future, if at all. For now, these families just want to get to know each other again.

"I'm proud to be his wife and proud to be an American," Mairead said, smiling.

Earlier Tuesday morning, about 250 airmen and support staff also returned from the same mission.



Alex Cabrero


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