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'Wizards' flight crews come home

Cierra Herridge, 4, gazes into the happy eyes of her dad, Petty Officer 1st Class Cecil Herridge. - K.C. Pohtilla/Whidbey News-Times
Cierra Herridge, 4, gazes into the happy eyes of her dad, Petty Officer 1st Class Cecil Herridge.
— image credit: K.C. Pohtilla/Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will be welcoming home more airborne warriors from the War on Terror Thursday.

The Electronic Attack Squadron 133 “Wizards” are returning home from Afghanistan after six months of combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The airlift of maintenance and support personnel arrived Saturday to a crowd of smiles and open arms at NAS Whidbey.

The fly-in of the squadron's four EA-6B Prowler jets is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19.

The 180-member land-based expeditionary squadron includes four U.S. Air Force aircrew assigned from the 388th Electronic Combat Squadron assigned to Whidbey. Since VAQ-133 left last September, they logged 550 combat sorties for a total of 1,800 combat hours.

While deployed, many VAQ-133 sailors volunteered at Bagram Air Field Hospital to assist local Afghans and coalition forces. In December, the squadron was visited by former President George W. Bush before he left office and Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations. The VIPs thanked the Wizards for their role in suppressing enemy air defenses in support of strike aircraft and ground troops by interrupting enemy electronic activity.

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