HomeNewsArticle Display

Homecoming: Barksdale Airmen return from Qatar, fight against ISIS

Capt. Austin Lohman, 11th Bomb Squadron flight commander, and his spouse embrace upon his return to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from a six-month deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. Barksdale’s air operations integrated with the regional campaign to pose a lethal threat to ISIS and an advantage to the forces who oppose them. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Capt. Austin Lohman, 11th Bomb Squadron flight commander, and his spouse embrace upon his return to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from a six-month deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. Barksdale’s air operations integrated with the regional campaign to pose a lethal threat to ISIS and an advantage to the forces who oppose them. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Family and friends await the return of deployed Airmen at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from their deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. Since September, Barksdale B-52 Stratofortresses and Airmen have flown over 400 sorties, dropped more than 2,500 weapons totaling approximately two million pounds, and executed more than 2,000 strikes against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Family and friends await the return of deployed Airmen at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from their deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. Since September, Barksdale B-52 Stratofortresses and Airmen have flown over 400 sorties, dropped more than 2,500 weapons totaling approximately two million pounds, and executed more than 2,000 strikes against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Members of Team Barksdale welcome home Airmen upon their return from deployment at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. Barksdale Airmen joined U.S. Air Forces Central Command in the mission to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIS through mutual support of regional forces. Since September 2016, Barksdale B-52 Stratofortresses and Airmen have flown over 400 sorties, dropped more than 2,500 weapons totaling approximately two million pounds, and executed more than 2,000 strikes against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Members of Team Barksdale welcome home Airmen upon their return from deployment at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. Barksdale Airmen joined U.S. Air Forces Central Command in the mission to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIS through mutual support of regional forces. Since September 2016, Barksdale B-52 Stratofortresses and Airmen have flown over 400 sorties, dropped more than 2,500 weapons totaling approximately two million pounds, and executed more than 2,000 strikes against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Family and friends await the return of deployed Airmen to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from their deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

Family and friends await the return of deployed Airmen to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Barksdale Airmen returned from their deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where they supported Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

After a six-month deployment, an Airman and his family are reunited at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Airmen who returned have already been replaced by more Airmen who continue to perform B-52 operations overseas in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

After a six-month deployment, an Airman and his family are reunited at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., March 21, 2017. More than 400 Airmen who returned have already been replaced by more Airmen who continue to perform B-52 operations overseas in the U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Curt Beach)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --  

More than 400 Airmen returned to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., after a six-month deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, March 20-21.

 

While deployed, Barksdale Airmen joined U.S. Air Forces Central Command in the mission to defeat and ultimately destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorist group through mutual support of regional forces.

 

Since September, Barksdale Airmen and B-52 Stratofortresses have dropped more than 2,500 weapons, totaling approximately 2.5 million pounds, and executed more than 2,000 airstrikes against ISIS.

 

“We generated over 440 combat sorties, which was great, aided by our outstanding aircraft maintenance unit,” said Lt. Col. Chris Cain, 96th Bomb Squadron commander. “They had 227 consecutive sorties without a cancellation. We kept the pressure on and supported the coalition, doing our part in the greater fight.”

 

B-52 airstrikes helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces retake and hold key territory, impeding ISIS’ ability to operate.

 

Barksdale’s B-52s in Qatar are part of the 19-nation air coalition conducting operations in the region. These include the elimination of ISIS and the threat they pose to the region and the wider international community.

 

Cain, who is returning from his fifth deployment, says these deployments are important for his family and the nation as a whole because combat missions aid in keeping the fight away from home.

 

“Our Airmen are overjoyed to be back and seeing their loved ones again,” he said. “As a commander, I look at it as getting everyone home safely, and I consider that the most successful part of the deployment.”

 

After more than 24 hours on the rotator flight back to Barksdale, Capt. Brett Matcheck, 96th BS assistant director of operations, is ready to reconnect with his family.

 

“I’m ready to spend time with my family and play with my kids,” he said. “My youngest son is two years old, so he kind of forgot who I am. We [communicated through] Facetime a lot, but it’s not the same as being in person.”

 

While these Airmen spend some well-earned time resting at home, the Air Force continues to combat terrorism around the world. Whether overseas or stateside, Barksdale Airmen work tirelessly to defeat our adversaries and serve as global sentinels.