More Silver Eagles Return - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/22/03

More Silver Eagles Return

More Marines are home from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pilots with VMFA 115 landed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort today. After serving six months aboard the USS Harry Truman, the Silver Eagles are finally back home with loved ones. They showed off some aerial moves before touching down in Beaufort for a warm homecoming.

"The anticipation has been rather high since the war's been over, but we're really happy to be home," said Maj. Tim Frank.

It's this moment that's helped keep Maj. Bret Saunders focused on their mission.

"It is the best feeling when you return home, that's what makes the cruise worthwhile," he said.

And now that he's home, Maj. Saunders has a lot of catching up to do with his wife, Valerie, and three children.

"It's great to have him home," Valerie said. "We missed him a lot. He's home now, he did a good job and the kids are excited to have him home."

After flying missions as far as Baghdad as part of the war on terrorism, the Silver Eagles have a lot to be proud of.

"We were a significant part of the war on terrorism, and that gives you a sense of satisfaction," said Maj. Saunders.

Although these pilots are now home with their families, their mission isn't complete. They've still waiting on the majority of their fellow Marines and sailors to arrive home.

"Just leaving them behind, is just not how Marines do things, so I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival tomorrow, and we'll be here with open arms when they get back," Maj. Frank said.

The rest of the Silver Eagles are expected to arrive home tomorrow evening. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is still waiting on about 500 Marines, and none of the around 100 sailors with Naval Hospital Beaufort have arrived home yet. About 20 of them are expected to arrive home next week.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly