First round of airmen return to Seymour Johnson

May 7, 2008 5:34:34 PM PDT
Hundreds of airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are coming home this week.

They've spent months in Afghanistan fighting in the war on terror, and for one pilot, it's a final flight after a special mission.

It was a moment four months in the making. Seventy-five airmen returned home Wednesday.

"When you see him getting off of that jet it takes a lot to hold you back," wife Dorothy Castillo said. "I told him he better be working out. I'm jumping into his arms. He better catch me."

The wait is finally over, the jets fly in and children fly into the arms of a deadly missed father and fighter pilot.

"It's great to be back home," 335th Fighter Squadron Colonel Travis Willis said.

While he was away, his squadron came to the rescue of a British airman in distress. It turned out to be the British royal family's Prince Harry.

"The Prince was out there," Willis said. "He did OK. Sorry that his cover got blown and he had to go home."

But home is exactly where the fighter pilots want to be, especially Commander Colonel James Jinnette.

The tour was his final with the 335th.

"We love being here at Seymour Johnson," Col. Jinnette said. "We love the community, we love our base. It's just incredible to come back home and see the color green again."

Wednesday's return was the first round of airmen to return home. Nearly 300 will fly in on Friday.


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