McConnell Air Force Base airmen who went to Afghanistan glad to be back in Wichita


In this image provided by the Department of Defense, a CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division is loaded onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug, 28, 2021. (Department of Defense via AP)

WICHITA (KSNW) – On Sunday, dozens of airmen and women got reunited with their loved ones at the McConnell Air Force Base, after weeks of being in Afghanistan helping with evacuation efforts.

The 22nd Air Refueling Wing aircrews arrived inside four aircraft and were welcomed with a formation arrival at McConnell, according to Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Parker.

“The best part of leaving is getting to come home because you know that you are going to be reunited with your friends and family again,” Parker said.

Parker says roughly 45 airmen and women received a 17-hour notice of their deployment and many had to put their plans on hold. Now, these brave men and women will be getting much-needed time off.

“They’re going to have a week off, or so,” said Colonel Nate Vogel, commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Airforce Base. “Families had plans that they put on hold, you know, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the flexibility and the professionalism that they went out the door with. It’s a privilege to be their commander.”

Aside from performing their duties, Vogel says many of the troops volunteered their time to help Afghanistan evacuees in the area.

“It’s just a very professional, very compassionate crew members that really just gave everything they had in this entire 3 to four weeks that they were gone.  It’s just good to get them back,” Vogel said.

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