SPRINGFIELD, IL (01/15/2015)(readMedia)-- PEORIA, Ill. ? Nine Sustainment Services Flight Airmen with the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Illinois, are scheduled to return home Jan. 17 after a seven-month deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

"We are very proud to welcome home our services personnel who deployed in support of our missions overseas," said Col. William P. Robertson of Peoria, Illinois. "Our services personnel are second to none. They provided top-notch support that exceeded expectations of the command overseas."

The Airmen are members of 182nd Force Support Squadron, a component of the 182nd Mission Support Group.

"I am very proud of each one of them as they continue to raise the bar each time they do the mission," said Robertson. "It's not easy to leave your civilian job and family to answer a call to duty. I am sure they are ready for a break and to get back to their families. My thanks to those families who sacrificed along with their deployed loved ones. We can't do it without their support, the support of their civilian employers and the support of our community."

As part of the Sustainment Services Flight, they provided life-sustaining functions as well as food services, fitness and lodging services for the deployed location. The team coordinated six Armed Forces entertainment and USO events, including 80 distinguished visitor tours for the 700 Airmen assigned to the location. Additionally, they provided lodging operations, which consisted of managing over 850 bed spaces including 100 distinguished visitors and 200 aircrew beds, using 92 percent of the installations capacity.

"This deployment demonstrated the value of the Air National Guard capability to our country and the fact that our members deploy globally serving our nation's call," said Col. Cory K. Reid of Bartonville, Illinois, 182nd Mission Support Group commander. "They performed flawlessly. Now we are able to welcome them safely back home and congratulate them on a job well done."

The 182nd Airlift Wing flies the C-130 aircraft, which is primarily used to transport cargo, personnel and aeromedical evacuees. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 182nd has deployed more than 4,000 members in support of operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Many of the wing's members have deployed numerous times. The wing has flown more than 17,500 hours in direct support of OEF and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This deployment cycle is one of many in the wing's history of supporting the Global War on Terrorism.

The Airmen will arrive at Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport at approximately 6 p.m. on January 17. This information is approved for release as of that time. For more information, contact the Public Affairs office.