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Seymour Johnson Sends Airmen to Eastern Europe

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FAYETTEVILLE — About 1,500 airmen from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are being deployed to Eastern Europe. Their exact destination is classified. However, they are very clear on one thing: the mission of the 4th Fighter Wing is to drop bombs on target.

The squadron has been deployed on peacekeeping missions in the past. This time they will play an active role in supportingNATO's Operation Allied Force.

"It's kind of exciting for me to see all the stuff on the news and know that we're doing something good for the people there," said one airman, who will remain anonymous at the Air Force request. "Just to be part of that is good for me."

Seventy men and women left Saturday and hundreds more are right behind them. Joyce Kidwell's husband was one of them. He is leaving Joyce and their 7-week-old daughter Elizabeth behind.

"I know he is going to do the job he has to do. I'm also active duty military. It's better that one of us goes instead of both of us," Kidwell said.

It is also a tough goodbye for Elizabeth's dad. He does not know how long he will be in Europe, or when he will see his little girl again.

"It's funny to watch the baby smile and giggle, and it's amazing that they're so small," said Kidwell's husband. "And probably by the time I get back, she'll be twice the size she is now."

Seymour Johnson will send personnel every day for about a week until the 1,500 airmen have been deployed. They will send 36 F-15Es later. Three hundred airmen and 18 F-16 jets fromShaw Air Force Basein South Carolina will join them in the region.


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