May 9, 2012 (by SrA Daniel Phelps) - Members of the 55th Fighter Squadron and the Shooter Aircraft Maintenance Unit returned from a four-month deployment to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea May 4 on the Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. flightline.
F-16s from the 35th and 80th FS, Kunsan AB; the 421st FS, Hill AFB; the 55th FS from Shaw AFB and from the 38th FG RoKAF, demonstrate an 'Elephant Walk' as they taxi down a runway during an exercise at Kunsan AB on March 2nd, 2012. [USAF photo by SrA. Brittany Y. Auld]
An Airbus A330 returned with 235 members of the 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron returning from a four-month deployment behind the F-16 Fighting Falcons.
"The F-16 aircraft and support personnel were part of a Theater Support Package to partner and train with South Korea
and other United States assets while deterring North Korean aggression," said Maj. Joseph Palen, 55th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations.
The 55th worked alongside ROK-US alliance partners to maintain peace and stability to the region during their deployment.
"The ROK-US Alliance has never been stronger," said Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, 7th Air Force commander Pacific Air Forces, Osan Air Base, South Korea. "These deployments reaffirm our commitment to providing the right combat air power and capabilities in defense of the ROK."
The returning Airmen were greeted by their friends and family at building 1614 who eagerly awaited them with signs saying how much they were missed.
In order for the jets to arrive home each aircraft flew a nine-hour flight with eight mid-air refuelings over 4,500 nautical miles.
In the past eight months the 55th FS
has deployed twice to two separate continents supporting two different combatant commands.