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Green Knights Return

Story by Lance Cpl. Robert W. Wynkoop

Release Date: 10/8/2002

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2002) -- Families cheered as their fathers, brothers and sons flew overhead, Oct. 2, as Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA(AW)-121) returned safely home from a more than five month deployment to Manas, Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Green Knights flew a total of 4,846 hours since April 16, without a single aircraft mishap. This was more than two and half times as many hours flown in a normal six-month deployment.

One of the biggest accomplishments of the deployment, according to Lt. Col. David Myers, commanding officer, VMFA(AW)-121, was actually the location of the deployment.

"Ten years ago, no one would have thought we'd be in a base in the Soviet Union," Myers said. "Most of the guys here aren't old enough to remember the Cold War and they were 10- to 12- years old during the Gulf War, so this is many Marines' first experience (in combat)."

The VMFA(AW)-121 Marines conducted close-air support, forward-air-control, tactical-air-control and air interdiction missions throughout the deployment, including support to other forces by maintaining a strong air presence and show of force.

The Marines and Air Force shared the flightline of the Manas Air Base with more than 2,000 members of Dutch and French aircrews.

Although the squadron did an outstanding job on the deployment, according to Myers, the Green Knights unanimously said, "It's good to be back in the U.S."

After well-deserved leave time, pilots and crews will resume day-to-day operations in Hangar One here in preparation for their next mission, which has yet to be determined.

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