MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- More than 200 Marines and Sailors with Marine Air Control Group 28 (Forward) returned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Jan. 13 and 16, ending a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.
While deployed, MACG-28 provided Marine airspace command and control in support of Regional Command (Southwest), the Afghan military led coalition of U.S. and NATO Forces in southwestern Afghanistan.
“The Marines and Sailors of MACG-28 (Fwd.) performed exceptionally well,” said Maj. Jimmy Hicks, the executive officer of MACG-28 (Fwd.). “Working very long hours, seven days a week and in some very arduous remote conditions, all Marines and Sailors went above and beyond. I’m very proud of everything they accomplished.”
During the deployment, MACG-28 was instrumental in a smooth transition of tactical control of airspace between the Marine Corps and the Air Force. According to Hicks, a highlight of the deployment was the movement of the TPS-59 radar.
“A lot of work was put into the handover of airspace control to the Air Force which enabled us to send home the TPS-59 and the controllers and maintainers responsible for its operation,” said Hicks. “This was significant because it was a sign that we were quickly reducing capability in Afghanistan and coming closer to the end of mission.”
As part of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd.), MACG-28 acted as a force multiplier for all Marine aircraft assets in RC(SW), said Hicks.
“We were assigned as a subordinate, separate and detached command under 2nd MAW (Fwd.),” he said. “We enabled the flying squadrons of the wing through timely and responsive aviation command and control to process air support requests, coordinate surface fires, positively control aircraft, and maintain the computer networks and systems that support the wing.”
At Cherry Point, family members packed the air station’s chapel to welcome their loved ones home.
“I’m feeling really anxious and excited for him to get back,” said Janelle Williams, wife of Petty Officer Zackary Williams, a corpsman with Marine Air Control Squadron 2. “It’s been so long and I just want him to see us again.”
Donna Wynn made a nine-hour car ride from Georgia with her husband in order to see her son Sgt. James Wynn, a meteorology and oceanography forecaster with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., return safely.
“My heart started beating really fast when we made it on to the air station,” said Donna. “I’m ready to see him again and know he is safe.”
Emotions grew as white buses carried Marines and Sailors to the chapel where they reunited with their families.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m back with my family,” said Wynn. “However, it’s good to be home…it really is.”