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More Utah Reservists Come Home

More Utah Reservists Come Home

Posted - Apr. 25, 2003 at 5:12 p.m.



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Jed Boal reporting As the war in Iraq winds to a close, some Utahns who fought the battles are on their way home.

They paint a clearer picture of the part they played in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Several dozen Air Force Reservists will return to Hill Air Force Base tonight where they will receive a heroes welcome.

A half-dozen fighter pilots from the 419th Fighter Wing touched down earlier today. They were glad to be home unharmed.

Pilots of the 419th Fighter Wing enjoyed the descent into the Wasatch Front.

"I THOUGHT ABOUT HOME EVERY DAY. AND THOUGHT ABOUT MY WIFE AND KIDS DAILY."

While families waited through nearly four months of deployment and one month of battle, another few minutes seemed nearly unbearable.

Anna/Pilot's Daughter: “I JUST MISS MY DAD SO MUCH...I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK, I WAS JUST SO HAPPY HE WAS HOME."

The six pilots who returned can't say a lot about their missions, but they bombed and took out SCUD launchers in Western Iraq and attacked bridges, tanks, and command centers of the enemy.

Lt.Col. Hoops/419th Fighter Wing: “24 HOURS A DAY...DAY AND NIGHT VERY LONG MISSION."

They also flew through the skies over Baghdad.

Lt.Col. Hoops/419th Fighter Wing: “THE MORE POPULATED AREAS WERE MORE INTENSE AND THE LESS POPULATED AREAS, YOU COULD RELAX A LITTLE BIT. BUT, YOU COULD NEVER RELAX TOTALLY, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNEW WHERE THEY WERE GOING TO BE."

FIFTY MORE MEMBERS OF THE 419TH WILL RETURN SOMETIME THIS EVENING AND 25 MORE ARE STILL DEPLOYED OVERSEAS. SO, THESE FAMILY MEMBERS FEEL LUCKY THAT THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE ALREADY BACK HOME.

Betsy/Pilot's Wife: “THE FACT THAT THIS WAS ACTUALLY WAR, IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS BEYOND COMPREHENSION. THIS WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT HOMECOMING THAN ANY OF THE OTHER ONES."

Betsy/Pilot's Wife: “HE SUPPORTED HIS COUNTRY. HE'S A VERY LOYAL AND FAITHFUL MAN AND WE'RE VERY PROUD OF HIM."

The other 50 pilots, support specialists, and maintenance crews are expected to arrive tonight after eight p.m.

There will be quite a celebration for the entire unit at Hill.

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