Family, friends welcome Panthers home

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots from the 81st Fighter Squadron prepare to exit their aircraft on Ramp 4 here April 10 after returning from a deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Friends and family waited by to greet six of the squadron’s pilots who had been providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots from the 81st Fighter Squadron prepare to exit their aircraft on Ramp 4 here April 10 after returning from a deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Friends and family waited by to greet six of the squadron’s pilots who had been providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Frederick)(Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Capt. Michael Dumas, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and weapons training officer, receives a hug from his wife, Megan, on Ramp 4 here April 10. Dumas was one of the squadron’s six pilots returning from a deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Capt. Michael Dumas, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and weapons training officer, receives a hug from his wife, Megan, on Ramp 4 here April 10. Dumas was one of the squadron’s six pilots returning from a deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks)(Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lt. Col. Joshua Ruddell, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and director of operations, is welcomed home by his wife, Neva, and children, from left, Tyler, Carter and Bella on Ramp 4 here April 10 after returning from his deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Ruddell was one of the squadron’s six pilots who had been providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lt. Col. Joshua Ruddell, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and director of operations, is welcomed home by his wife, Neva, and children, from left, Tyler, Carter and Bella on Ramp 4 here April 10 after returning from his deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Ruddell was one of the squadron’s six pilots who had been providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks)(Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Capt. Mike Krestyn, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and chief of plans, climbs down from the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt II on Ramp 4 here April 10. Krestyn was one of the squadron’s six pilots returning from a deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks/Released)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Capt. Mike Krestyn, 81st Fighter Squadron pilot and chief of plans, climbs down from the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt II on Ramp 4 here April 10. Krestyn was one of the squadron’s six pilots returning from a deployment from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, providing close air support during Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew B. Fredericks)(Released)