August 20, 2009 (by SSgt. Phillip Butterfield) - Pilots of the 13th Fighter Squadron returned home August 20 from a six-month deployment to Suwon Air Base, Korea.
USAF F-16C block 50 #91-0423 from the 13th FS is spotted landing on August 20th, 2009. The 13th FS returned from a six month deployment to Suwon AB, South Korea. [USAF photo by SSgt. Samuel Morse]
The arrival of the F-16s to Misawa is the first part of the return trip, with approximately 250 service members arriving throughout the next week.
The Panthers were deployed to the Republic of Korea in an effort to promote stability and security in the region.
"During the last six months, the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron provided an airpower presence in South Korea
as dramatic events unfolded on the world stage," said Lt. Col Jay Aanrud, 13th Fighter Squadron commander.
For their mission, the Panthers were joined by members of the 13th Fighter Squadron, the 35th Maintenance, Aircraft Maintenance and Maintenance Operations and Operational Support Squadrons. The various components reorganized into a new team, the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.
"It was a rare organization," said Colonel Aanrud. "We combined ops and maintenance together under one patch to accomplish the mission of safe, reliable, sortie generation and tactical execution of our training sorties."
The commander of the 10th Fighter Wing at Suwon Air Base commended the 13th EFS's camaraderie, professionalism and friendship, added Colonel Aanrud.
"They were truly ambassadors 24-7," said Colonel Aanrud. "They did their job extremely well and our Korean alliance is stronger because of them."
The squadron's skills were on display right from the start - the 13th EFS started flying within 48 hours of their arrival. By the end of the deployment, the 13th EFS racked-up 2,044 sorties and more than 2,700 hours flying.
"We trained alongside squadrons from the 51st Fighter Wing and 8th Fighter Wing stationed in Korea, as well as their Republic of Korea air force allies, sharpening their combat skills and gaining valuable experience in the Korean theater," said Colonel Aanrud.
With their part in the Suwon mission complete, the Airmen of the 13th EFS headed home to see family and friends.
"I'm very excited he's home," said Anna Young, wife of Capt. Tyler Young, 13th FS
pilot. "We had plans to go to Guam, but ... we decided to stay home."