WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you hear military helicopters flying over town this week, don’t be alarmed. They’re on their way home. An Army Combat Aviation Brigade arrived at the Port of Wilmington and will be flying back to Fort Bragg throughout the week.
“This is the end of the deployment,” says Black Hawk pilot SSgt. Mike Campbell. “The culmination.”
The Port of Wilmington is a stop on the way home for the U.S. Army’s 82nd CAB. The more than 30 helicopters, which include Apaches, Chinooks and Black Hawks, are all being reassembled at the port after a yearlong deployment in Eastern Afghanistan.
Pilots and crewmembers got home to Fayetteville last month and are looking forward to the final flight of their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“A lot of flying. The vast majority of us flew between 500 to 700 hours,” SSgt. Campbell says. “So that was significant for a deployment.”
The CAB’s home port is Charleston, but this time, they chose a closer location in the Port City for a few reasons.
“Saving on fuel costs, maintenance costs and cost of time for the pilots and soldiers,” says Maj. Todd Harnoff.”
“Having it out of Wilmington, only 45 minutes away definitely reduces the burden on the crews, being so much closer to home,” SSgt. Campbell says. “We’ll be able to get out of here faster and get back home faster.”
As for the noise, the Army says pilots plan to minimize it, by taking off in the opposite direction of neighborhoods.