October 11, 2007 (by Amn Elliott Sprehe) - History was made for the former 27th Fighter Wing as the 522nd Fighter Squadron, or Fireballs, and their Aircraft Maintenance Unit returned from their deployment to Andersen AFB, Guam last week.
The four-month deployment was the last for the Fireballs as they now begin their inactivation process. The official date has not been announced.
While deployed, Fireball Airmen participated in exercises that ranged from intercepting aerial "enemy" aircraft to flying with deployed tanker units.
Their return here came less than a week after the 27th Fighter Wing became the 27th Special Operations Wing. This now makes the Fireballs a tenant unit at the former F-16 fighter wing base.
Not all their aircraft returned to Cannon. Some were assigned to other bases with F-16s and reported to their new homes directly from Guam.
Also returning was the Fireball's aircraft maintenance unit, approximately 300 Airmen who maintained the aircraft during the deployment.
"This deployment is a great closure for our squadron," said Lt. Col Tod Fingal, 522nd FS
commander, while in Guam.
The Fireballs will inactivate rather than deactivate. This means their colors and lineage can be called back to duty at a future date.
The pilots and aircraft will be assigned to other bases that have F-16 fighter Wings and the aircraft maintainers will either go with their aircraft to a new assignment or retrain under a different Air Force Specialty Code.