The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

73 SOS airmen return home


USAF photo: Airman 1st Class James Bell Airmen from the 73rd Special Operations Squadron and 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group return from their deployment on a C-17 on Oct. 6. Three 73 SOS, 14 27 SOMXG and 10 16 SOS Airmen returned following the C-130W.

A C-130W taxied to a stop and as the doors of the tail ramp opened airmen, assigned to the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, clad in tan flight suits, made their way off the aircraft.

Minutes passed as spectators, wing leadership and families awaited the arrival of a C-17 Globemaster III, carrying the maintenance personnel that had deployed in support of the aircraft.

And what a ride it was, as the flight crew and maintenance personnel with the 73 SOS returned after completing its first combat deployment since arriving here.

Upon returning, airmen in-processed with various agencies such as finance, medical and others, some hurrying along the way so they could spend time with their families.

“He needs to hurry up out of that line,” said Jenny Hansen, referring to her husband Senior Airman Ryan Hansen, 73 SOS. Hansen said that she had some really good friends that helped her out while her husband was deployed.

Other airmen, although glad to be home, are looking forward to their next deployment.

“I’d go again, but it’s great to be home,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Darland, following his first deployment.

The 73rd has a long history of supporting American warfighters since its initial inception as the 73rd Aero Squadron on Feb. 26, 1918 and will likely continue that legacy as Cannon’s 27th Special Operations Wing grows exponentially to support SOF missions.

“I’m always proud to go back and get things done,” said Capt. Jarvis Combs, whose recent return marked his second trip in support of intra-theater operations.

“Each time you go, you learn something different,” said Combs, who added that it is “always good to see my babies,” referring to his 18-month old and 3-month old children.

The most recent deployment conducted by the 73 SOS can be added to their long legacy of service to the U.S., including streamers from World Wars I and II.


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