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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard airmen scheduled to return today

May 16

ST PAUL, Minn - Thirty-three airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing are scheduled to return this afternoon to Minnesota following a two-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 

"The profound effort and sacrifices of our deployed personnel were instrumental in the successful completion of this mission," said Air Force Lt. Col. Carl Lojovich, deployed director of operations for the returning airmen and home-station commander of the 109th Airlift Squadron 

"Our departure from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan last week marked the closing of a significant chapter in Operation Enduring Freedom - the last Air National Guard C-130s departed, turning over the operation to our Active Duty counterparts and transitioning Air Guard operations to the Persian Gulf region," said Lojovich

While in Afghanistan, the deployed airmen successfully flew more than 360 missions encompassing roughly 2,100 sorties, hauling an estimated 34,000 passengers and 9,000 tons of critical cargo via airdrop and airland capabilities, said Lojovich  Several missions also provided emergency airlift of wounded service members, allowing for timely medical care

"I am extremely proud these great Americans so successfully executed such complex missions in a dynamic and hostile environment, and I'm also very relieved to have them come home safely to their families," stated Air Force Col Greg Haase, 133rd Airlift Wing commander

"The returning airmen deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in early March with 70 of their fellow airmen aboard three of the Wing's eight C-130 'Hercules' aircraft," said Air Force Maj Ann Todd, 133rd Airlift Wing Executive Officer  The remaining airmen and aircraft are now deployed to an air base in the Persian Gulf region supporting Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom and will return to Minnesota in mid-July

Currently, a total 155 airmen remain deployed from the 133rd Airlift Wing across the world in support of US operations, including aircrew and maintenance personnel, aeromeds, logisticians, engineers, services personnel and others, said Todd  Many of these men and women are serving on their fifth, sixth or even more deployments and will return throughout the remainder of the year

The 133rd Airlift Wing's C-130 "Hercules" transport aircraft supports many military missions, including airdrop and airland delivery of critical supplies, equipment and personnel to remote airfields and to areas not easily reached by ground travel, added Todd C-130s also provide aeromedical evacuation of wounded service members, where trained medical personnel provide timely, life-saving medical care while patients are transported to a medical facility

The Wing has deployed 452 personnel this year and since 9/11 has cumulatively deployed nearly 6,000 airmen to 36 countries in support of US operations, said Todd

The 133rd Airlift Wing is comprised of approximately 1,200 men and women who serve in support of state and national needs, said Todd  They are your "Citizens Serving America ~ Airmen Defending Freedom"


MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA ARE INVITED TO ATTEND the welcome home celebration, which will be held at the 133rd Airlift Wing, 631 Minuteman Drive, St Paul, Minn 55111, located adjacent to the MSP International Airport

The airmen are scheduled to arrive aboard one of the Wing's C-130 "Hercules" aircraft at approximately 2 pm and will be greeted by awaiting family members and fellow airmen

***NOTE: DUE TO A POTENTIAL FLUID ARRIVAL TIME, please RSVP with contact information (including a cell phone number) to the 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office at 133AW.WGPA@ang.af.mil or call 612-802-6436  Please plan on arriving no later than 1:15 pm unless notified otherwise

For more information on the 133rd Airlift Wing visit www133awang.af.mil or follow the Wing on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/133rdAirliftWing

View high-resolution photos on flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/133aw/sets

For more information on the Minnesota National Guard visit www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org or follow us on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNationalGuard

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Senior Master Sgt Mark Moss with the 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office at
133aw.wgpa@ang.af.mil or call 612-802-6436


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