148th service members reunited with families after four months overseas

Family and Friends reunite at 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth
Family and Friends reunite at 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth(KBJR/CBS3 Duluth)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 9:32 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN -- Wednesday, about 175 service members arrived at the 148th Fighter Wing following a four-month deployment in Saudi Arabia.

Families greeted their loved ones on the runway in an emotional reunion.

“I’m always very proud, it’s what makes this country so great it’s people like my husband and everybody else with him,” said Nicole Waters, wife of one of the arriving airmen.

During their deployment, pilots flew F-16 fighter jets and clocked more than 4 thousand hours in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U-S military campaign against ISIS.

“The stuff that he and that entire unit do is phenomenal. They’re the best in the Air Force, so very proud of them and the entire unit,” said Dwayne Wuestneck, whose son returned Wednesday.

Wuestneck retired from the 148th himself just 18 months ago.

“I was in the unit for 37 years. And you know, I was always on the other side. I was on the airplane side coming in. So it was really strange,” he said.

Wuestneck’s son and others conducted joint exercises with the Royal Air Force of Oman and the Egyptian Air Force during their deployment.

With their return stateside, he said the wait was worth it knowing the work his son put in.

“It’s always worth it, they’re doing some real world really great things out there. That’s what they do,” he said.

Fighter wing leaders say roughly 500 148th service members are deployed across ten countries this year on tours ranging from four to six months.

Many of those are expected to return from deployment in the next two weeks.

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