Play / pause Coming Home

Coming Home

  • Ed Smith
  • Interview by: Ewan Burnett


The fighting in the Gulf ended

on the 28th of February I think

and we then went into a period of transition.

The war was over, we had to get home

but then there was a massive force of aircraft

in the Gulf which had to be brought home.

And the planning organization continued obviously

to sequence all the aircraft home

and we were just a small part of that.

We carried on.

We did little bit more flying.

Only what was necessary

but mostly we were packing up to come home.

Big planning goes into bringing 24 aircraft home.

First of all, deciding which pilots

were going to fly the aircraft back

and which were going to come back

in the transport aircraft.

I was lucky to get one of those spots

on the F-16

and I was deputy leader for a flight of six aircraft back

to the States.

We left Minhad,

it was on about the, Minhad in the Emirates,

on about the 19th, I think, of March.

And we flew across Saudi Arabia,

the Mediterranean, landed in Spain

and spent a night there

and we had air refueling support

all the way along that route

and then the next day we flew

from Spain to Moody in Georgia.

And that was about 10 and a half hours.

Again, in flights of six aircraft

with air refueling tankers.

We stayed in company with tankers all the way across

but the tankers changed places.

They couldn't accompany us all the way,

so they were constantly changing over.

But we flew non-stop into Georgia

and stayed another night there.

And we're still not home.

It was about a five-hour transit home back to Utah.

Again, with air refueling support.

And by this time, the families

all knew when we were coming home.

The organization back at Hill

had been one of the squadron's stayed in place

and some of the wing organizations remained

in place as well.

So they were able to prepare for our arrival back.

And we arrived back on 21st I guess it was

to a great reception.

They'd opened up a hangar,

invited all the families up

and as the aircraft, as we taxied in

on arrival, we were met by families

and they were given freedom

to move around the airplanes as they wanted

as we came onto stand,

as we came up onto our parking spot.

They all knew which airplane we were in, each pilot.

So Viv and Stuart and Charlotte were there

at the bottom of the steps.

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