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Minot Airmen return home from Andersen deployment

by Airman 1st Class Wesley Wright
5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

2/7/2007 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNEWS) -- Five months, more than 6,000 nautical miles and a 100-degree difference in temperature later, 110 Minot AFB Airmen returned home amid "welcome home" signs, balloons and excited children Jan. 30 from a deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

Six B-52 Stratofortresses and approximately 300 Airmen deployed to Andersen AFB in August 2006 to provide U.S. Pacific Command with a continuous bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Airmen were the largest wave of deployers returning from Air and Space Expeditionary Force 3 and 4. After accomplishing all their missions and helping launch 200 perfect sorties, the Airmen are finally home.

"It feels great," said Senior Airman Andrew Severn of the 5th Munitions Squadron. "We got everything done that we set out to accomplish."

The Minot Airmen successfully launched 200 consecutive B-52 sorties while deployed with a 100 percent mission effectiveness record.

"We made every mission we set out to accomplish a success," said Col. Eldon Woodie, the 5th Bomb Wing commander. "Our Airmen rose above the standard. The deployment was absolutely phenomenal."

The returning Airmen are now faced with the challenge of getting back into, as Sergeant Boyed put it, "the Minot way."

As part of the reintegration process, Airmen undergo a "reverse" deployment process, said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Beachy of the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron. He said Airmen are given a post-deployment checklist, which they streamline into a 72-hour process. The checklist runs them through different organizations on base that aid in adjusting back to normal life.

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