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

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (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.

“We still have forces deployed out in the world. We always will. McConnell’s busy and it always will be but it’s great to see these forces back for sure,” said Nate Vogel, commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Airforce Base. “

“It’s the best feeling when you pop over the horizon and you can see McConnell Air Force Base and the runways,” said Vogel. “And then when you see the crowd gathered on the side, your adrenaline starts rising and you just get really excited just to be back home.”

The Air Refueling Wing aircrews arrived over Wichita skies in military formation in four aircraft and were welcomed by family, friends and fellow military members 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,” said Parker, the 350th Refueling Squadron commander.

Parker says roughly 45 airmen and women received just a 17-hour notice of their deployment. 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 Vogel. “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,” said Vogel.

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