Alabama pilots with 187th return from Iraq

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Two hundred fighter pilots of the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard are returning to Dannelly Field in Montgomery after spending three months in Iraq.

Six airmen from the 187th returned Tuesday. The pilots deployed in July to provide air support for coalition forces.

Lt. Col. Scott Patten, director of operations for the wing's 100th Fighter Squadron, said they started working missions the day they arrived.

Patten said the wing flew more than 650 aircraft that were dispatched on a mission and logged more than 2,500 flying hours.

Col. Jeff Smiley, 187th commander, said the pilots found themselves in stressful situations and logged combat hours.

Smiley said the airmen "did exactly what they were trained for."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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