FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The 122nd Fighter Wing based at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base announced Wednesday it will deploy 300 airmen to the U.S. Central Command Region which consists of consists of 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
The deployment involves about one-third of the 122nd’s members and will take place in early October and will last for six months. The fighter wing flies the A-10 Warthog which is used for close air support and for directing other aircraft involved in attacks on targets on the ground. President Obama has indicated the U.S. will conduct airstrikes on targets in Syria and Iraq to combat ISIS. However, Col. Patrick R. Renwick, 122nd Fighter Wing Commander, said the deployment is not related to ISIS, but the mission could change. Training and planning for the deployment has been going on for over a year.
“They’ve completed additional training in order to go to the Central Command Theater of Operations,” said Col. Renwick We’ve done more weapons qualifications, we’ve done cultural awareness, we’ve done medical training.
“I don’t know of a time in Blacksnake history we have taken this kind of aviation footprint forward. The A-10 “Warthog” is uniquely suited for the Combatant Commander’s needs, and the Blacksnakes are the right team to bring that capability to combat.”
The 122nd Fighter Wing has been deployed around the world on multiple occasions since 9/11.
The deployment was deemed “historic for its length and size relative to previous Air National Guard deployments, which in the past have ranged from 30 to 90 days”, according to the Air Guard.
The 181st Fighter Wing based in Terre Haute, which Col. Renwick just came from before being named the 122nd’s new commander, will be sending five airmen on this deployment.