Pilots, jets from Shaw 77th back from Afghanistan

About two dozen pilots and F-16 Fighting Falcon jets from the 77th Fighter Squadron are back home at Shaw Air Force Base after a six-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Alexandria Mosness said the pilots and aircraft of the unit dubbed "The Gamblers" returned Tuesday afternoon.

The unit suffered the loss of one of its pilots, Capt. James Steel, three weeks ago when his F-16 crashed in Afghanistan. Steel was returning to the base in Kandahar from a close air support mission for ground troops.

Remaining members of the Gambler Aircraft Maintenance unit and the 20th Operations Support Squadron are returning later this week.

Mosness says a memorial for Steel is scheduled for April 30.