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Holloman Airmen deploy to Pacific Theater

Both Holloman Airmen and Alamogordo community members came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Both Holloman Airmen and Alamogordo community members came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Both Holloman Airmen and Alamogordo community members came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Both Holloman Airmen and Alamogordo community members came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Children of deploying pilots came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. More than 300 Holloman Airmen will go to Korea over the next week in support of this deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Children of deploying pilots came to the flightline Jan. 8 to say farewell to the 9th Fighter Squadron F-117A pilots headed to the Republic of Korea for a preplanned deployment. More than 300 Holloman Airmen will go to Korea over the next week in support of this deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Holloman Airmen board the aircraft that will take them to the Republic of Korea Monday. Approximately a squadron of F-117As and about 300 Airman are going on this preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Holloman Airmen board the aircraft that will take them to the Republic of Korea Monday. Approximately a squadron of F-117As and about 300 Airman are going on this preplanned deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Bret Mills, 49th Maintenance Squadron, says goodbye to his wife, Stephanie, and his daughter, Gianna, 8 months, before he deploys to Korea Monday. More than 300 Airmen are going on this deployment from Holloman (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Bret Mills, 49th Maintenance Squadron, says goodbye to his wife, Stephanie, and his daughter, Gianna, 8 months, before he deploys to Korea Monday. More than 300 Airmen are going on this deployment from Holloman (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Tech. Sgt. Bill Phreaner, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, holds his three-year-old daughter, McKenna, before he deploys to Korea Monday. More than 300 Airmen are going on this deployment from Holloman (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Tech. Sgt. Bill Phreaner, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, holds his three-year-old daughter, McKenna, before he deploys to Korea Monday. More than 300 Airmen are going on this deployment from Holloman (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- More than 300 Holloman Airmen deployed to the Republic of Korea for a regularly scheduled deployment this week.

The 9th Fighter Squadron, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, logistics and intelligence Airmen are deploying, said Capt. Michael Harmon, 9 FS.

On Monday, many Team Holloman members and members of the Alamogordo community bid farewell to six F-117A pilots headed for Korea. They were near the flightline waving American flags to show their support while the jets taxied to takeoff.

"We're here to wish them the best from the community," said Mr. James Thompson, an ambassador for the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce. "Holloman Air Force Base means a lot to Alamogordo and it's a privilege to support them."

Mr. Dwight Harp, member of the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce and the Committee of 50 and a Holloman honorary commander, thinks of the Holloman and Alamogordo communities as one big family, also known as Hollomagordo.

"Being here is not only an opportunity, but it's a responsibility and an honor," he said "It's an opportunity for us to say 'thank you' and 'we love you.' We go to church and soccer practice (with Holloman members), we see you at the grocery store and restaurants."

Many of the Airmen who left Monday were deploying for the first time and had an attitude full of excitement.

"I'm kind of excited to see what it's like," said Senior Airman Joshua Sharp, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, about his first deployment. "When I found out we were going, I volunteered for the opportunity."

There are many aspects of a deployment that make it difficult for the Airmen, whether it's their first or eighth time deploying.

"Being away from my family is hard," said Master Sgt. William Harrell, 49 AMXS. "But I'll maintain contact by e-mail, pictures, letters and phone calls."

Deployments are not only difficult on the Airmen who are leaving, but the family and friends they leave behind.

"I know he has to go places and it's hard not seeing him everyday," said Mrs. Denise Tatum, wife of Lt. Col. Kenneth Tatum, 9 FS commander, who deployed Monday. "He was excited about going and we are proud of him. He is making our country a better place."

Being away from family and friends is not the only aspect of a deployment that is difficult, however.

"Getting prepared and making sure you have everything you need, ready to go is a difficult thing to do for a deployment," said Maj. Ronald Rae, 9 FS.

This is not only is this a big deployment for Holloman, it is also one of the last deployments the F-117A may go on.

"This is quite possibly the last stealth deployment," said Col. Jack Forsythe, 49th Operations Group commander. "But we are always on call, 24/7, to go out to deploy. We will stand ready until we are told to stop the F-117 mission."