Airmen Deploy for Middle East

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

Dozens of local airmen are now on their way to the Middle East, on a mission to help rescue injured U.S. military members.

Moody Air Force base was busy during the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday, as members of the 71st Rescue Squadron made final preparations for their mission in Operation Enduring Freedom.

CMDR Jeff Taylor said, "We support helicopters with refueling, we support the paratroopers with air drops and re-supply missions. We can land in makeshift dirt airfields in order to pick up someone who's injured and move them more quickly than a helicopter."

While these airmen are anxious to return to the Middle East and continue their mission to save lives, it’s a little tougher on the family members who get left behind. Despite the difficulties though, the family members say they fully support their airmen and their mission.

Kim Taylor, the wife of a squadron commander, says, "He takes his job very seriously. The squadron is doing fabulous and they're looking forward to getting back in country and running the deployment for the next year. I'm excited for him."

Members of the 347th Maintenance Squadron are also making the trip.

TSGT Gary Hurst, crew chief with the 347th Squadron, says, "Back here at home, many of our missions are training missions, and this is something we prepare for daily, so when we actually deploy and we get calls to help, it shows that our hard work here at home pays off."

Even though these airmen may see some dangerous situations during their service overseas, they are supremely confident they will return home in a few months to their friends and family in south Georgia.

The crews from Moody will be replacing National Guard members who've been serving in Operation Enduring Freedom for the past several months.


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