One hundred Airmen of Delaware Air Guard complete final preparations before deploying to Southwest Asia

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About 100 Delaware Air National Guardsmen from the 166th Airlift Wing are heading overseas again to the Southwest Asia combat zone to serve for four months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Airmen will travel aboard unit C-130H model transport aircraft, with scheduled departures from the New Castle ANG Base on Tuesday and Thursday morning, Feb. 26 and 28, making stops during the flight to reach their overseas base at an undisclosed location. They will serve alongside fellow Air Guardsmen from the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas ANG.

The deploying Delaware Air Guard Airmen are from two groups in the 166th Airlift Wing; the 166th Operations Group, which includes all C-130 aircrew and other Airmen with various critical job functions, and the 166th Maintenance Group, which includes crews who maintain and repair the aircraft. The Airmen will serve up to 120 days under U.S. Air Force Central Command, and are prepared to operate anywhere in USCENTCOM's 20-nation area of responsibility.

"Our crews are conducting normal pilot and aircraft commander certification training, and normal C-130 airdrop and assault landing training in preparation for their mission. A lot of the training is reestablishing muscle memory for air crews," said 166th Operations Group Commander Lt. Col. Rob Culcasi. "We're sending experienced aircrews and a significant number of younger aircrew."

166th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Mike Feeley said, "Final preparations are being accomplished for the departure of our Airmen. Our operations and maintenance personnel have done an exceptional job in refining their skills and preparing their equipment and aircraft for this deployment. They are well trained, equipped, and ready to accomplish our nation's tasking. Their dedication and the sacrifices of their families are greatly appreciated."

Deploying Airmen are primarily residents of the four states of Del., Pa., Md. and N.J. A modest number of Airmen reside in several other states from N.Y. to Va.

On Thursday morning, Feb. 28, Delaware State Senator Nicole Poore, one of five recently named Honorary Commanders of the Delaware Air National Guard, will visit the base for a brief tour and to observe the sendoff. Sen. Poore represents the 12th Senate District which covers much of Old New Castle to Delaware City and further south.

Media are invited to the sendoffs, but must call ahead to confirm attendance. Address: 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720. Enter the base from Commons Boulevard and follow the signs for "Delaware Air National Guard."

The Delaware ANG has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe. This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

Delaware Air National Guard: Celebrating 67 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2013

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