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Seymour Johnson Airmen Wait to be Deployed

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SEYMOUR JOHNSON — Despite the tragic strike on the Chinese Embassy and word the Yugoslav Army is partially withdrawing from Kosovo, the NATO air strikes will continue. For airmen at Seymour Johnson, it is not a matter of if, but when they will head overseas.

The Pentagonhas said that some people from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will be deployed, but they do not know who or when the airmen will leave.

For weeks, they have been expecting it. Now, Seymour Johnson is finally getting the call. Thirty-sixF-15 Es and all the airmen that keep them running are getting ready for theNATObombing mission in Yugoslavia.

The airmen have known since Friday, but as of Monday, they still had not been told who was going or when.

More than half of the F-15 Es in the country are based at Seymour Johnson. The announcement itself is no surprise. Business owners hope the deployment is a short one.

"When Desert Storm happened, we felt it for about six or eight months on the economy, and we don't want anything like that again," said realtor Bob McClave.

About 100 reservists from the 916th Air Refueling Wing returned home Monday afternoon after supporting the bombing mission for a month.

With three dozen strike eagles preparing to travel to Europe, the reserves are getting ready for the possibility of a return trip.

"First we have to get our people back. Once that happens, we just have to wait and see if we get asked for any additional jobs to do," said Capt. Keith Packett of the 916th Air Refueling Wing.

For airmen at Seymour Johnson, the wait for more information about deployment continues.


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