350 Ellsworth Air Force Base Airmen deploy to Southwest Asia
350 men and women from Ellsworth Air Force Base lined up Friday morning, getting ready for deployment overseas.
“They're going to be heading out down range, so they will be coming through the facility and process just like TSA screening. They will go through the process and do some checks to make sure they are ready to leave. When the aircraft is ready to go, we'll load them up and get them out of here,” said Jamey Shuls, Deployment Officer.
The 28th Bomb Wing Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia, putting their training into real life situations. “We’re going to be providing air support over Afghanistan and provide air presence and whatever missions we are asked to do while deployed. We have been training for 12 months, literally dozens of exercises so we are ready to accomplish the mission,” said Joseph, Commander 37th Bomb Squadron.
Deployments like these are common at Ellsworth Air Force Base. “We do it very often, so for many of us, we are very familiar with it. The situation and enemy continue to evolve and change, so for the past year we have gone over countless exercises."
This is the third deployment for Iram, a Senior Airmen who says deploying isn't as bad as the anticipation leading up to the big day. “You know for six months that you are deploying and I’m ready to go. Waiting is the worst part about deploying,” adding that after spending time overseas, the departure has its cons too. “As happy as I am to come home it's always about the people you are leaving behind there too. You get the connection and then say, hey I have to go.”
The men and women who are part of the B-1 bomber fleet will spend approximately six months overseas.