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14 AS returns after 120-day deployment

By 2nd Lt. Susan Carlson | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | May 05, 2010

Joint Base Charleston, S.C. -- At approximately 11 a.m. Monday, May 2, North American Airlines flight 1470, carrying 130 Airmen from the 14th Airlift Squadron, touched down at Joint Base Charleston.

The 14 AS returned from a 120-day deployment to the Middle East. Waiting for them at the Joint Base Charleston passenger terminal was a large crowd filled with husbands and wives, moms and dads, boyfriends and girlfriends, and excited young children with handmade signs, all hoping to get the first glimpse of their loved one.

The crowd of anticipated faces erupted in cheers as the first Airman of the 14 AS stepped off the plane.

"I am very anxious and very excited," said Adrienne Wiesner, wife of Capt. Daniel Wiesner and mother of their two children. "It feels like Christmas when you're four years old."

For many of the 14 AS wives, this was their first deployment experience.

"It was hard at first, then you kind of get into the groove of things," said Dallas Hutsell, wife of 1st Lt. Robert Hutsell.

Col. John Wood, the 437th Airlift Wing commander, was on hand to be the first to greet the Airmen as they departed the plane.

The majority of the returning Airmen plan to take some time off for the next few weeks and re-adjust to family life here in Charleston.

"Our plans include utter relaxation and a lot of family time," Adrienne Wiesner said, "We are not going anywhere, just staying at home."

Lauren Tucker, wife of Capt. Paul Tucker, was waiting with her six-month old son and had similar thoughts.

"We're just going to get re-adjusted at home," she said.

While deployed, the Airmen of the 14 AS served under the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom as well as the Horn of Africa, providing food, water and necessary supplies.

The 14 AS Airmen logged more than 8,000 hours, flying nearly 3,000 sorties in the C-17 Globemaster III and delivered 148 million pounds of cargo within their area of responsibility, said Lt. Col. Randall Huiss, commander of the 14 AS.

The squadron now holds a new record for the number of bundles and amount of weight airdropped during an EAS deployment. They completed missions over 160 drop zones, delivering more than 5,000 bundles, which in turn resulted in more than 8.1 million pounds of supplies distributed to warfighters throughout the theater.

In addition, the 14 AS moved the second highest amount of cargo in one day in EAS history and became the first to fly a formation airdrop out of the EAS Colonel Huiss said. Another first included becoming the first squadron to perform a combat Joint Precision Air Drop System FireFly Drop, he added. This air drop uses the FireFly parachute system, which is fed a GPS coordinate from the airplane, thus allowing a precision drop from very high altitudes.

"As you can see from the numbers, we were very busy while deployed," he said. "The squadron did a fantastic job supporting the warfighter by both air land and air drop missions. I couldn't be prouder of my squadron, but am definitely glad to be coming home."

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