BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Air National Guard welcomed home airmen from the main body of their deployment to southwest Asia.
This deployment marked the largest ever for the 124th Fighter Wing, which made coming back to Idaho even sweeter.
"It is kind of unreal you don't really think about it, but as soon as we got off the plane it hit me," said Sr. Airman Adam Saurey. "It's just an honor to be able to represent this state and the people here."
Waiting for Adam was his parents as families were able to welcome home the 120 warfighters after they were gone for several months.
"Oh my gosh, we are enormously and immensely proud," said Adam's mother, Debbie. "We are just happy they made it back safe and sound.
Returning home from deployment is a special day, but it was different because of the pandemic as each warfighter had their temperature taken as they came off the plane, families waited in their cars for social distancing purposes and the airmen will quarantine for the next 14 days.
"It has got to make it sweeter, I mean the uncertainty of having your family gone is something our families do all the time and something our employers have to endure," said Col. Shannon Smith the 124th Commander. "That pandemic followed them across the world, is in the theater today and they are working through that."
The 124th Fighter Wing's primary mission featured the A-10 warthog as the wing delivered airpower in support of joint operations in the middle east.
"That says a lot about the A-10 that it continues to be relevant in the fight today," said Col. Smith. "We still have ongoing insurgencies across the world, and the A-10 is ideally suited for that."
Col. Smith said the mission was a success due to the men and women who filled their roll not only to fly the planes but also to offer support and security to the mission.
Other airmen remain oversees and they will be coming home in waves over the next several months, more airmen are expected to also deploy in waves.