TACOMA, Wash. - For many Easter is time for celebration, but the mood was more somber at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sunday afternoon as loved ones said goodbye to members of the 4th Airlift Squadron deploying to the Middle East.
Over 60 members of the squadron will be on a 60-day deployment, accompanied by Airmen from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Airmen will take over operations of the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
The unit will operate out of two bases, managing and flying missions concentrated in and around Southwest Asia. They are replacing the 8th AS, which is scheduled to return in early April.
The mission of the 817th EAS is to provide global strategic airlift, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation and humanitarian relief and to create an air bridge for personnel and equipment.
The 62nd AW's four active duty flying squadrons share responsibility for the deployed squadron and rotate operating the 817th EAS continuously.