By Sgt. Robin Perry
Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE, La. – After serving for nearly a year in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 20 Soldiers from the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 204th Theater Airfield Operations Group returned home, Feb. 10, to ecstatic family and friends at Esler Airfield in Pineville.
The unit’s mission was to support Air Traffic Services throughout the theater of operations, while assuming the position of Aviation Brigade Headquarters for Army Central Command in Kuwait. While acting as the overall subject matter experts for all airfield operations in Kuwait, the 204th, headquartered in Hammond, supported the successful withdrawal of all Army aviation forces from Iraq.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scherell Carter, 204th assistant personnel officer, was greeted by her mother, three daughters, and her new grandson, born while Carter was deployed.
“This is just surreal!” the Carville resident gushed. “I can’t wait to get home and just hang out with all my girls.”
While deployed, the 204th executed over 9,000 accident-free flight hours and conducted safety and quality evaluations of all Army Air Traffic Services operations in Afghanistan, ensuring the safe movement of over 800,000 aircraft movements.
For Staff Sgt. Chris Lee, a New Orleans resident, the homecoming represents the end of his second deployment.
“This time I was the senior air traffic controller examiner,” he said. “That means I travelled around to every Army airfield in theater.” Lee’s first deployment, also with the Louisiana National Guard, was in 2005-2007.
The 204th has also supported Louisiana state emergencies including Hurricanes Katrina & Rita in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. The unit was responsible for the New Orleans rescue airlift executed from the Louisiana Superdome in September 2005.
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