More than 50 members of the Hawaii Air National Guard and three KC-135 Stratotankers returned home following a four-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq.
The three Stratotankers from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, along with flight and maintenance crews and other support personnel, were part of an 18-nation air coalition, the Hawaii Air Guard said.
Two tankers and most of the airmen arrived today at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the flight from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
Some of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s F-22 Raptors, meanwhile, made history on a recent deployment to the Middle East in the fight against the Islamic State.
The 199th Fighter Squadron dropped bombs on enemy forces for the first time in the Hawaii Air Guard’s 70-year history. It was also the first operational deployment of the stealth fighters from Hawaii.
More than 200 airmen including pilots with the Air Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron and active-duty 19th Fighter Squadron, along with maintenance and support crews from the 154th and 15th wings, deployed in September and returned in April. The majority were Hawaii Air National Guard members.
Because of “host nation sensitivities,” the Guard did not release the base name or country of operation, but F-22s in the past operated out of Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.