Pilots and maintainers deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from Air Force Reserve Command’s 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., are returning home after concluding their combat deployment, according to a Bagram release. The Missouri A-10s began departing Bagram on Oct. 19, states the release. During the months they spent in Afghanistan, these airmen and their machines flew close air support missions as part of the 303rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. The Reservists were expected to arrive at Whiteman late on Monday evening local time, according to the wing’s Facebook page. Replacing them are Indiana Air National Guardsmen and A-10s from the 122nd FW at Fort Wayne ANG Base. These approximately 300 airmen and their airplanes will constitute the 163rd EFS at Bagram.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.