The Hercules C-130 roared ahead along the runway, propellers whirling, as a group of onlookers waved goodbye, a few clutching American flags.
For many reservists deploying earlier today to an undisclosed location from the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township, it's business as usual.
"They're in great spirits today, I'm sure the nice weather is helping," said Col. Craig Peters, commander of the 911th. "We're used to this."
More than 100 reservists from the wing will begin the first phase of their four-month deployment to an undisclosed location.
The reservists, who will reach their final destination on Sept. 11, will support operations within U.S. Central Command, delivering supplies, equipment and U.S. and coalition forces to areas such as Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf
Loved ones had the chance to send off reservists, meeting with them at a facility on the air base before their departure.
The focus of the morning remained on reservists, not
"We offer strategic support," Peters said. "And really, with the Navy coming, with the 171st across the runway, with the Army Reserve across the street, we really offer joint strategic operations here at the 911th. When there is a disaster on the East Coast, Pittsburgh becomes the center of gravity."
Peters said a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Naval operations center, slated to open on the grounds of the 911th Airlift Wing, will likely take place in October.