Members of an Air National Guard unit in Battle Creek are back home after service in the skies over West Africa. Transport aircraft of the 217th Air Operations Group supported troops from France and several African countries fighting Islamic insurgents in the deserts of northern Mali.
The 26 members of Battle Creek unit were based in Germany during their month-long overseas tour. The 217th Group is part of Air Forces Africa. Members of the unit were previously involved in NATO air operations during the fighting that overthrew Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last year.