CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Six airmen with the 130th Airlift Wing returned home after a five-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The airmen landed at Charleston's Yeager Airport Wednesday evening and were greeted by happy family and friends, said Lt. Col. David Lester, spokesman for the West Virginia National Guard.
"They had a pretty eventful time over there," Lester said. "They were engaged often and had some combat experience. So their families are going to pretty happy to see them."
The airmen, all members of the 130th Security Forces Squadron, had the primary duties of securing "base assets," which included personnel and equipment. Lester said part of their duties also included patrolling the areas outside of the base walls. That was where they encountered hostilities, he said.
The group arriving home Wednesday was part of a larger group of 13 deployed overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Seven members of that group returned home last week.
Lester said the West Virginia National Guard has members being deployed in ones and twos but no longer has a "solid group" overseas. He estimated about 30 or 40 state guardsmen are deployed overseas in various roles.
He said the guardsmen are trained for the "dual-mission," and that they could be participating in a firefight while deployed one week and helping clear snow the next week on the home front.
Hundreds of state guardsmen were helping in various roles in the days immediately following Superstorm Sandy.
"It's the dual mission, we never know what we're going to encounter," Lester said. "Glad they're coming home."