Air Force squadron deploys

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. The squadron left Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Sunday afternoon.

The squadron fly F-15E Strike Eagles, which can provide air cover for ground troops.

"Doing close air support for guys on the ground whether they're Army, Marines, or Special Forces," 335th Fighter Squadron Captain Robert Lee said.

They know their tasks and their mission, but they also know the deadly toll it has taken on the US military.

Forty-five service men and women have been killed in Afghanistan this month alone, making it the deadliest month there since the war started.

Seymour Johnson lost two men last month when their jet crashed.

"Have done a lot to try to mitigate those things, taking a lot of safety precautions during our training and everything like that, so I feel like we're prepared," Lee said. "I'm real excited. I can't wait to get out there. It's been a lot of training at this point."

Lee and the entire squadron will be away for four to five months. They will replace another fighter squadron that will be coming home in a few weeks, according to officials at the base.

The 335th deployed to Iraq in 2003 and flew more than 1,500 missions.

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