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36th EAMXS prepare to pack it up, go home

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Arthur Webb
  • 36th Operations Group Public Affairs
Anticipation is setting in as Airmen from the 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are beginning to pack up and redeploy back to Barksdale Air Force Base. 

Although they're anxious to return home, rushing through preparation procedures, and winding down the operations tempo or bringing the mission to a complete stop seem to be the last thing on these expeditionary warriors' mind. 

The Louisiana-based aircraft, aircrew, support and maintenance members are going home while their fellow Airmen from the 2nd Bomb Wing will replace them here as part of a scheduled rotation of bomber units. 

All of the nearly 120 warriors from the 36th EAMXS are determined to keep up their relentless pace until they get home. They are committed to completing the mission, even down to the last day. 

"When we arrived here, we hit the ground running," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Clontz, NCOIC, 36th EAMXS. "Even though it's time to leave, we still have some missions to support, and we'll complete them all before we go home. The pace will not slow down." 

Nearly all of the expeditionary Airmen will miss being a part of the Andersen AFB community, but they enjoyed their time here. "This is the first time I've been to Guam," said Master Sgt. Joseph Godwin, 36th EAMXS specialist flight chief. "I have enjoyed the scenery of the island. I have also enjoyed the professional folks that I have been able to work with as well as supervise," Sgt. Godwin added. 

The bomber presence is aimed at enhancing regional security, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Western Pacific, and providing integrated training opportunities. "I feel that we have proved that the B-52's can and will operate in the Pacific to deter any and all threats to the U.S. and our allies", Sgt. Godwin added. 

To demonstrate to the local community their war fighting capability, the 36th EAMXS provided more than 20 different aircraft and munitions displays to people inside and outside the gate. "We felt it was important to show how proud we are of our jets and the weapons systems they employ. It may be the oldest aircraft in the Air Force inventory, but it's the most reliable," Sgt. Clontz said. 

Some members of the squadron were lucky enough to participate in an Air Show in Australia. 

According to an earlier story regarding the Australian air show, the performance of the B-52 and other Air Force aircraft on display at the air show left a positive impression of the joint cooperation between the U.S. and Australian flying partners. The U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Robert D. McCallum, attended the air show, calling it a "celebration of the aerospace industry." The ambassador declared the air show an "affirmation of the strong Australia-U.S. alliance" wherein participants' impressive capabilities and ideas for the future were showcased. 

To most folks, this was a deployment away from home, family, and friends. This was not the case for Staff Sgt. Larry Villagomez, 36 EAMXS Aircraft Armament Systems specialist. He is at home. 

Staff Sgt. Villagomez was born here. He graduated high school and then joined the military. "Until I deployed here this year, it has been five years since I have returned home. It's great to be home," said Sergeant Villagomez. His wife, who is also his high school sweetheart, and their two children are at Barksdale awaiting his return. But for now, he says he is here to do the mission, keep the jets in the air, on target and on time. 

"My family here at Guam is very proud of me and what I do for the U.S. Air Force. They look up to me and I am proud to be a member of the mightiest Air Force in the world." 

The 36 EAMXS will leave Guam with a number of achievements in their wake. During their 120-plus day rotation, members of the 36 EAMXS participated in 16 exercises, supported 188 flying missions, which obtained 1282 flying hours and dropped 615 munitions, which equates to 182 tons of munitions being expended. They also had time to support the local community. 

"From taking care of our own people, supporting an animal shelter to cleaning up an orphanage for homeless children, we've demonstrated the Wingman culture and a spirit of volunteerism during our stay here. Our people are the cream of the crop. This has been one of the best deployments of my 24-year career," said Sergeant Clontz.

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