148th Members Return from Joint Base Balad, Iraq

Family members welcome home U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Noah Feehan, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009.  Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Family members welcome home U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Noah Feehan, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009. Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base sits idle on a runway at Duluth Air National Guard Base, Minn. before it is unloaded January 20, 2009.  The aircraft transported members of the 148th Fighter Wing and equipment returning from a recent deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq as a part of the 148th's  Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Jason W. Rolfe) (Released)

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base sits idle on a runway at Duluth Air National Guard Base, Minn. before it is unloaded January 20, 2009. The aircraft transported members of the 148th Fighter Wing and equipment returning from a recent deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq as a part of the 148th's Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Jason W. Rolfe) (Released)

Family members welcome home U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Noah Feehan, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009.  Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Family members welcome home U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Noah Feehan, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009. Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Family members and local media welcome home U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nolan Voss, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009.  Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Family members and local media welcome home U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nolan Voss, 148th Fighter Wing, in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009. Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Jodi Stauber and Commander Col. Mark Johnson greet returning members of the unit in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009.  Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Jodi Stauber and Commander Col. Mark Johnson greet returning members of the unit in Duluth, Minn. January 20, 2009. Approxematly 60 Air National Guardsmen returned home from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base sits idle on a runway at Duluth Air National Guard Base, Minn. before it is unloaded January 20, 2009.  The aircraft transported members of the 148th Fighter Wing and equipment returning from a recent deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq as a part of the 148th's  Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Jason W. Rolfe) (Released)

A U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy from Dover Air Force Base sits idle on a runway at Duluth Air National Guard Base, Minn. before it is unloaded January 20, 2009. The aircraft transported members of the 148th Fighter Wing and equipment returning from a recent deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq as a part of the 148th's Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Jason W. Rolfe) (Released)

Duluth, Minn. --

Families, friends, cold temperatures and a whole lot of snow greeted the first wave of 148th Fighter Wing members returning from their recent Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Approximately 60 airmen returned on Wednesday after serving 45 to 120 days at Balad. The 148th Fighter Wing was the sole provider of Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System (TARS) support to Central Command Leadership since September. 148th F-16s were equipped with TARS pods which hold a sophisticated photographic system that can take high resolution photos at soaring attitudes. These photos are used by Central Command to achieve their tactical objectives. In late-November, the 148th deployed a larger group of personnel and aircraft to also provide Close Air Support for ground forces in Iraq. This was the Wing's third deployment to Joint Base Balad since 2005.