About 240 airmen with the 75th Fighter Squadron, which flies A-10C Warthogs, began returning home to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, late Thursday after a six-month deployment in support of Operations Spartan Shield and Freedom’s Sentinel.

According to the Air Force, the Tiger Sharks deployed in early July to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia to support Spartan Shield, an ongoing mission to keep forces ready for contingency operations in the area while conducting joint exercises with partner nations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, to include Kuwait, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and more.

The 75th, including 35 pilots and support personnel, then moved to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan to fly close-air support missions in support of U.S. and Afghan troops battling the Taliban.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II with the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 18. (Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois/Air Force)
An A-10 Thunderbolt II with the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 18. (Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois/Air Force)

During the squadron’s time in Afghanistan, airstrikes against the Taliban were up significantly from previous years. In November, the coalition released 841 weapons — the same as in September, and the highest of the year. The coalition released 6,823 weapons in the first 11 months of 2018, the highest total in six years. In the first 11 months of 2018, manned strike aircraft from the coalition flew the most sorties — 7,291 — since 2014, when 12,978 such sorties were flown. That’s up from the 4,603 manned strike sorties flown in 2017.

Moody is the most deployed base in Air Combat Command, according to a news release.

Lt. Col. Sean Hall, 75th Fighter Squadron commander, embraces his family after returning from supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Jan. 25 at Moody Air Force Base. (Airman First Class Eugene Oliver/Air Force)
Lt. Col. Sean Hall, 75th Fighter Squadron commander, embraces his family after returning from supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Jan. 25 at Moody Air Force Base. (Airman First Class Eugene Oliver/Air Force)