Welcome home Hawaiian Raptors

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: Because of security considerations and host nation sensitivities, the Hawaii Air National Guard will not release the names of its personnel who deployed, and the country, or base where the Raptors operated.

Friends and family celebrate the homecoming of their loved ones as they returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in a number of groups over the past several days. Over 200 active-duty, Air National Guard Airmen and the F-22 Raptors aircraft returned from the six-month deployment here, April 8.

"It is good to be home, said an aircraft maintainer from the 154th Maintenance Squadron. "I think that everyone did an amazing job out there. It's unbelievable to see my family, my sons have doubled in sizes. I can't what to be around my family, have some good food and go to the beach."

The Hawaiian Raptors are made up of F-22 pilots from the 199th Fighter Squadron and the Active-duty 19th Fighter Squadron and are supported by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Maintenance Squadron and the active-duty 15th Maintenance Squadron.

The deployment, to the Central Command area of responsibility, marked the first operational deployment for the Hawaiian Raptors. The Central Command area of responsibility encompasses the Southwest Asia and most of the Middle East. While deployed the F-22 Raptors successfully struck a number of high-value ISIS (also known as Daesh or ISIL) targets. The Hawaiian Raptors were an integral part of Operation Inherent Resolve

Operation Inherent Resolve is an 18-nation air coalition that is driving ISIS back considerably in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has lost more than 40% of the populated areas it once controlled in northern Iraq and recently retreated from several key populations centers in Syria.

"Our people performed extremely well and they did it with the Aloha spirit. Maintenance did an outstanding job, and made all their taskings. We integrated well with the other coalition forces and conducted our operations flawlessly," said one of the Hawaii Air National Guard's pilots.

The F-22 fighter aircraft and the Airmen of the Hawaiian Raptors started this mission by departing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in late September 2015 and have all redeployed by April 8.