Cannon families, friends await arrival of deployed troops

By Gary Mitchell

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — More than 200 Cannon “lethal warfighters” deployed at various locations for several months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom will return home to Cannon on Monday and Tuesday.
Family members, colleagues and friends will be waving flags and cheering as the Cannon service members come back home, said Lt. Cristina Oxtra, Cannon public affairs spokeswoman.
“We’re decorating a hangar in their honor,” she said. “There will be a huge flag there to greet them. We want to give them as warm a welcome as we can.”
The 524th Fighter Squadron “Hounds of Heaven” will fly their F-16s home and arrive at approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday.
The squadron’s en route support team will return early Tuesday morning. More warfighters from various squadrons will arrive at Cannon later Tuesday.
“Many of our troops have been gone for several months, and we’re looking forward to seeing them again,” Oxtra said. “We’re glad they’re coming home safely, and we’re very proud of what they’ve achieved. I know I’ll have a tear in my eye out there on the flightline.”
The arrival time schedule is tentative and subject to change, Cannon officials said. Delays for customs inspections also are expected after arrival.
The event is not open to the public, Cannon officials said.