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726th ACS return
A U.S. Air Force staff sergeant from the 726th Air Control Squadron holds his son July 16, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, after returning from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia. The squadron was in country to support Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward)
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Hardrocks return home

Posted 7/16/2012   Updated 7/16/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Gina M. Paige
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/16/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Nearly 200 members of the 726th Air Control Squadron returned July 16 after a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 726th ACS tackles a wide-spread mission, including enemy surveillance and identification, weapons control, joint and combined data-link connectivity, theater air defense, and battle management of assigned air assets.

During their deployment, the squadron became the 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, executing tactical control of the air campaign through the operation and maintenance of various tactical sensors and communications.

"Across three locations it was a complete team effort," said Lt. Col. Trent Carpenter, 726th ACS commander. "We had great support from the team back home, to include the Hardrock Spouses' Group; in-garrison team, and leadership."

Members of the Gunfighter community were on hand to meet loved ones as they disembarked the plane.

"It's great to be home," said Capt. Louis Griffith, 726th flight commander. "It has been a very long tour, everyone's worked very hard and this is the moment we have all been waiting for."

The return home was a special occasion for Capt. Griffith who held his 4-month old son for the first time.

"I had to be away while he was born," said Griffith. "I got to hear it over the phone and see video recordings later. My wife has done a great job while I have been gone and it is great to be here."

With this group home, another group of the 726th gears up to deploy continuing the squadron's ever-present mission in theater.

7/20/2012 9:04:21 PM ET
Congrats on a job well done and welcome home I'm excited to arrive in October and become part of the 726 ACS team
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