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LOOK: Heroes’ welcome for Air Force pilots and crew from Marawi

Around 200 of at least 1,000 Philippine Air Force personnel who were part of the five-month campaign of the government against the Islamic State-linked Maute Group in Marawi City got a heroes’ welcome on Monday at Villamor Air Base in Pasay.

“These airmen demonstrated airpower that was felt, seen and used 24/7 whenever, wherever. They symbolize the Air Force at its finest hour, and the airmen at their greatest defining moment in recent memory,” Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar said in his speech during the welcome ceremony.

(insert photo ni Marianne with C-130 on the background, kahit ano dun sa dalawa. Marianne Bermudez/ PDI)

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It was the first time that the pilots and crew and the combat support troops on the ground met each other after five months of working together during the siege.

(insert IMG 0363 Photo by SSG Amable Milay Jr./ PAF)

Kintanar said 1,007 airmen – pilots, forward air controllers, and support personnel – were deployed in Marawi.

They conducted 1,358 sorties, racking up a total of 4,950 hours flown. They transported 6,716 troops and police officer and extricated and evacuated hundreds of resident.

The government spent almost P1.5 billion for fuel and other operational costs.

The returning personnel were awarded with the Air Force Medallion, engraved with their names and “Marawi Hero.”

Kintanar led the awarding of the medals.

(insert QC9A3107. Photo by SSG Amable Milay Jr. / PAF)

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(insert IMG 0377 Photo by SSG Amable Milay Jr. / PAF)

Aside from the pilots, Kintanar also commended the forward air controllers, the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD0 specialists, the snipers, combat engineers, the maintenance crew, the medics, and the mobile kitchen staff of the Air Force.

(Insert IMG 0330 Photo by SSG Amable Milay Jr. / PAF)

Also present at the ceremony were the ground commanders in Marawi – Maj. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Special Operations Command; Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command; Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Philippine Army; and retired Gen. Eduardo Año, former AFP chief.

(insert photo ni Marianne of PDI, yung unang pinost ni JL sa whatsapp with all the commanders. Marianne Bermudez/ PDI)

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