729th ACS returns

729th ACS Airmen return home

Staff Sgt. Derek Schmidt, 729th Air Control Squadron, meets his 4-month-old daughter, Evelyn, in person for the first time at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017, while his spouse, Stephanie, looks on. Schmidt, along with 60 other 729th ACS Airmen, returned from a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo)

729th ACS Airmen return home

From the left, Carolin, Andrea, and Allison Hewitt await the arrival of Maj. Ben Hewitt, 729th Air Control Squadron, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017. Hewitt, along with 60 other 729th ACS Airmen, returned from a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo)

729th ACS Airmen return home

Family members and friends wait for 729th Air Control Squadron Airmen to deplane at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017. The 729th ACS returned from a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo)

729th ACS Airmen return home

Airmen assigned to the 729th Air Control Squadron deplane at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017. Sixty-one 729th ACS Airmen returned home following a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo)

729th ACS Airmen return home

Maj. Ben Hewitt, 729th Air Control Squadron, lifts his 3-year-old daughter, Carolin, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017. Hewitt, along with 60 other 729th ACS Airmen, returned home from a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. Family members, friends, and coworkers greeted the returning Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo)

729th ACS Airmen return home

Staff Sgt. Quenton Bailey, 729th Air Control Squadron, greets his spouse and their daughters at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Oct. 25, 2017. Sixty-one 729th ACS Airmen returned from a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Sixty-one Airmen assigned to the 729th Air Control Squadron returned home Oct. 25, 2017, after spending more than 180 days deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Family members, friends, coworkers, and base leaders were on hand to greet the returning Airmen. Another 106 Airmen assigned to the 729th ACS will return in the next week to 10 days.

The squadron sent more than 170 Airmen to several dispersed locations to provide Air Force commanders with a Control and Reporting Center.

The unit’s contributions were vital in supporting worldwide contingencies responsible for command and control of joint air operations using surveillance, identification, weapons control, battle management, and theater communications data links.

“[729th ACS] provided persistent 24/7 Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) to coalition forces for over 940,000 square miles of airspace within the CENTCOM AOR,” said Lt. Col. Johnny McGonigal, 729th ACS commander. “Of note, members of the ‘Angry Warriors’ supported the MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) drop in Afghanistan, as well as the first air-to-air kill since Kosovo. Also, members of the 729th ACS stood up a new detachment at an undisclosed location in the fight against ISIL.”

While deployed, the 729th ACS joined with other U.S. and coalition partners to form the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, also known as ‘Kingpin.’ They controlled over 30,000 coalition aircraft in direct support of operations Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, and the Combined Defense of the Arabian Gulf.

The 729th ACS prepared for the deployment during a rigorous 2-month spin-up period. Mission crews attended 60 academic briefings and completed 4 combat crew assessments. Each individual crew member had to successfully pass 3 exams on CENTCOM airspace procedures and rules of engagement, and perform their core tasks during 10 simulated mission events.

The 729th ACS is a geographically separated unit of the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and is one of only three active-duty Air Control Squadrons in the Air Force.

Team Hill fully supports the unit and its families prior to, during, and immediately following their frequent deployments.

"The 729th ACS supports an important and dynamic mission to ensure our nation's security," said McGonigal. "Our ‘Angry Warriors’ are the best in the business and we're very proud of their accomplishments."