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140th Wing returns from deployment

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

Family members of the returning Airmen anxiously await the 140th Wing members' arrival in the middle of the night Jan. 9 at Buckley AFB, Colo. (Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt Wolfram Stumpf)

BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- Deployed members of the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard enjoyed a safe return home Wednesday night after completing a three-month mission in support of both U.S. Central Command and Africa Command for ongoing overseas contingency operations.

Pilots, maintenance, and intelligence personnel spent many months preparing for this overseas mission and executed it flawlessly over the past 90 days, said to Lt. Col. Tim Conklin, commander, 120th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

"Despite working in an austere environment, under sometimes difficult conditions, the 120th performed brilliantly," he said.

Since 1923, the "Redeyes" of the Colorado Air National Guard have served our country's overseas missions to include having deployed six times since 9/11.

"This deployment was especially unique as Colorado is the first U.S. F-16 unit to establish sustained operations on the Africa continent," said Brig. Gen. Trulan Eyre, 140th Wing commander.

Although the Wing has deployed several times, this latest mission was distinct because it encompassed the entire 2012 holiday season. While it was relatively easy for the Airmen to connect with families back home using the latest technologies, many also admit that the holidays just aren't the same when they're deployed overseas.

In addition to their military mission, many of the deployed members were able to support local humanitarian efforts as well.

"Our members spent hundreds of hours of their scarce free time volunteering at numerous charities throughout the community," Conklin said. "We had folks serving at orphanages, wellness clinics, and English speaking schools."

Prior to their departure, the Colorado Guardsmen passed their responsibilities on to the Wisconsin Air National Guard, marking 15 years, almost to the day, when these same two units performed an identical transition in Kuwait.

That was also year the Denver Broncos won their first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers (coincidence?!).

The majority of the deployed members will be returning to Buckley Air Force Base late on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

For assignment editors:

Family members will be present to welcome their loved ones back home. Interviews can be coordinated through the 140th Wing Public Affairs Officer, Capt. Kinder Blacke, at 720-847-9558, or cell 720-670-7062, kinder.blacke@ang.af.mil.

Media wishing to cover the arrival should RSVP with Capt. Kinder Blacke by 8 p.m. Jan 9.

In order to access the base, media must enter at the Mississippi Avenue gate (just east of the Tower Road and Mississippi Avenue intersection) NO LATER THAN 10 p.m. on Jan. 9. Media representatives will be required to provide their drivers' licenses, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Media will be escorted to and from the event by convoy.