Airmen return from Afghanistan deployment

September 9, 2009 7:49:01 PM PDT
About 70 members of the Air National Guard are returning to the Bay Area this week -- after a four-month deployment to Afghanistan. More than two dozen members of the 129th Rescue Wing got back on Wednesday.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

A C-17 flew into Moffett Airfield carrying precious cargo from Afghanistan. Families had waited four months for this moment. It came with a patriotic welcome and finally all the emotion of a safe return home.

Major Tom Keegan is a rescue pilot back from his third deployment to Afghanistan.

"It was a good long trip, good to be home, we did some good work," he said.

The Pave Hawk helicopters came back from Afghanistan with the 129th Rescue Wing. It is the same aircraft Major Tom Keegan and his fellow guardsmen used to save lives.

The 129th Rescue Wing performed up to eight rescue missions a day often in combat zones under siege by the Taliban.

"We had to go, people were bleeding and they needed our help so we came and we got them and brought them back so they could get the care they needed," said Major Keegan.

In four months there were hundreds of dangerous missions into hostile territory. The military reports the team saved 187 injured people.

"Not to toot our own horn or anything but they were writing poems about us. We would go get them when nobody else would. It was an incredible feeling," said Chief Master Sergeant Rick Nowaski.

The success stories do come at a price. Those in uniform put their own lives on the line and their family life on hold.

Major Keegan missed both of his daughters' birthdays and father's day. His sister says at this homecoming everyone is a hero.

"His family and his kids are willing to sacrifice for us. I'm proud of him. He's my big brother," said Major Keegan's sister Tara Keegan.

Tara's brother and the rest of the 129th Rescue Wing won't be deployed again for another 18 months. They say if the call comes to return to Afghanistan, they'll be ready.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments