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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 11:13 GMT
Air force squadron set to disband
Welcome home sign
The troops were greeted by family with signs
An air force squadron which is due to disband has returned to its base at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire after a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The RAF 26 Squadron was based in Kandahar where it was protecting UK forces based at the city's airfield.

Some of the 130 returning members of the squadron will join the 15 Squadron. No posts are being lost in the move.

The squadron's tour included providing protection for medical civilian aid patrols to villages in the area.

Parade of colours

RAF Waddington's Station Commander Group Captain Andy Fryer officially welcomed back the troops in a ceremony.

"Kandahar is no easy touch. Danger is ever-present and very serious," he said, adding that the squadron managed to return without any casualties.

The squadron is being closed as a result of the Ministry of Defence's decision to reduce its Rapier surface-to-air missile capacity and transfer the remaining Rapier responsibility to the army.

Flight Lieutenant Mark Boden said: "We are not losing manpower but we are moving people to new locations.

"It marks an historic occasion as it is officially the end of our Rapier operations in the RAF."

The 26 Squadron, which formed in 1951, will parade its colours on the air base on Thursday in a farewell to the unit.

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Squadron troops were met by relatives at RAF Waddington



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