AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash.--Fairchild Air Force Base officials welcomed the final crews who were deployed to the Transit Center at Manas back to the Inland Northwest on Tuesday.
The Transit Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan has been a primary logistics and passenger hub for U.S. forces in the region for more than ten years.
The transit center's final aerial refueling mission over Afghanistan was completed Monday.
Just under 100 airmen walked onto the flight line at Fairchild Air Force Base on Tuesday, having left Manas Transit Center for the final time.
The base at Manas will shut down in July of 2014.
“ It's surreal. it's surreal to be back home. It's really good to see friends, family, my wife especially,” said Fairchild Airman Captain Mike Raynor.
The final three Fairchild tankers at Manas returned home Tuesday.
“It has been an incredible effort over the last several years to whenever a soldier, airman, sailor or marine called for help, that help was overhead in minutes. And that’s something that we haven't been able to do for a long long time and we've done that on the backs of the tankers,” said Colonel Brian Newberry, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Commander.
Col. Newberry said the refueling operation will continue from different locations in Southwest Asia.