Moody airmen prepare to deploy -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Moody airmen prepare to deploy

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - There will be a weekend of emotional goodbyes at Moody Air Force Base.

One-hundred airmen are being deployed to Iraq this weekend.

On Friday, members of one rescue squadron and four supporting squadrons made final preparations for their tour of duty.

These Moody airmen are completing their final paperwork before heading to Iraq this weekend. For some, it will be their first deployment.

"As with anything you do for the first time there's a little bit of nervousness there's a little bit of excitement you know," said A1C Brock Wallace of 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "Just a bunch of mixed emotions."

For Captain Ruane and others it's their second time.

"In Iraq we're going to be performing CSAR missions, combat search and rescue," said Capt. Sean Ruane of the 41st Squadron. "Basically we'll provide 24-hour coverage while we're deployed for any type of aircraft that would have issues and go down in theatre."

The 41st rescue squadron and it's supporting squadrons including the 723rd aircraft maintenance, 23rd equipment maintenance, and the 23rd logistics perform dangerous tasks.

They may use night vision goggles to locate downed aircraft, refuel planes and helicopters in mid-air, and may rescue survivors behind enemy lines.

The deployment process is a team effort not only for the airmen leaving but for the families they leave behind.

Moody Air Force Base relies on three support groups: their immediate family, Team Moody, and the Valdosta community. Lt. Colonel Steve Gregg says these groups support them at different times and in different ways.

"The deployments while they may stress the family, the airforce is interested in retaining its airmen and its the community and family that does that for them," said Lt Col. Steve Gregg of 41st Squadron.

Captain Ruane says they take every measure possible to make sure the crews return safely. The squadrons fly Pave Hawk helicopters that are high-tech modified versions of the Army's Black Hawk helicopter.

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