The first Utah troops to return from the Persian Gulf war are coming home today, Hill Air Force Base has confirmed.
Twenty members of Hill's 2952nd Combat Logistics Support Squadron were scheduled to arrive at Salt Lake International Airport on a Delta flight. They flew on military transport planes from the Middle Eastern country where Hill squadrons were stationed, then took civilian flights home."These people are heroes coming back. We're going to treat them that way," said their commander, Lt. Col. Sam Brown.
Altogether, 114 members of the squadron deployed overseas with contingents from Hill. "Their primary mission is aircraft battle damage. . . . Our guys patch 'em up so they can fly," Brown said.
Hill has been in contact with this first contingent after it landed back in the United States. "They feel absolutely elated to be back on American soil," he said.
During the Persian Gulf war, the 2952nd had a chance to repair aircraft. They also were integrated into the backshop, helping to work on sortie jets.
Lt. Col. Portia McCracken, base spokeswoman, said the squadron members will be welcomed at the airport by a group from Hill. "Every time a group comes back like this, we'll get as many folks down there to the airport and out to the flight line," she said.
When all of Hill's deployed men and women return, "we'll have a basewide party," she said.
In August, less than a month after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, two F-16 squadrons from Hill took off for the Middle East. The 4th and 421st Tactical Fighter Squadrons have been stationed at an airbase in the region, in a country not yet officially identified.