LaGuardia Airport personnel received an unexpected arrival Dec. 27, 2011, when the 4th Special Operations Squadron aircrew radioed the airport requesting permission to land. Deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn since 2003, the AC-130U Spooky Gunship was on its final leg home. The unexpected arrival became an opportunity for everyone at LaGuardia Airport to honor the crew in true New York fashion. “Robert McAdams, the station manager for SheltAir Aviation, LaGuardia Airport’s fixed base operator, notified my office of the AC-130U’s scheduled arrival time and that the aircraft was en route from Iraq to Hurlburt Field,” said Thomas Bosco, general manager for LaGuardia Airport.
With timing of the essence, the staff responded with the singular goal of honoring returning service members who are travel weary and itching to set foot on U.S. soil. The Port Authority (of New York and New Jersey) earn their living by thinking, organizing, and acting quickly and decisively,” said Bosco. “So, it wasn’t difficult at all for them to organize personnel and equipment for the event. As the word spread of the AC-130’s arrival, airport workers, who could safely break away from their duties for a few minutes, did so in order to render a heartfelt “thank you” to our brave men and women in uniform.”