60 Airmen from Delaware Air National Guard leave Dec. 26 and 28 aboard C-130 aircraft for 4-months to Afghanistan

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Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist
166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Cell 302-593-2126, or Office 302-323-3369
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@denewc.ang.af.mil
Release No. 2007-12-003 [corrected Release No.]
December 21, 2007


NEW CASTLE - Early Wednesday morning, Dec. 26, nearly 30 Airmen from the Delaware Air National Guard will board a 166th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from New Castle airport bound for Bagram, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and combat operations in and around Afghanistan.
Another 30 Airmen leave New Castle two days later early Friday morning Dec. 28, 2007, headed for the same location.

The 166th Airlift Wing will send maintainers from the 166th Maintenance Group, aircrew from the 166th Operations Group, and a C-130 aircraft to Southwest Asia to start a 120-day rotation to support an Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Force obligation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Our maintainers have done a great job preparing the aircraft, and we are ready to perform our mission. Our aircrews are fully trained and proficient at operating day and night throughout the combat zone," said Col. Jonathan Groff, 166th Airlift Wing Commander. "Aircrew will conduct airdrops and takeoff and land on unimproved landing zones, typically short runways on dirt or gravel surfaces, using night vision goggles. We're sending experienced personnel, a blend of older and younger Airmen, and we are confident of their abilities."

Colonel Groff added, "We are asking a lot of our Airmen and of their families, especially over the holidays. The Airmen are professionals who are putting service to country first. The unit will do all we can to assist their families while the Airmen are serving overseas."

This is the 166th Airlift Wing's 14th deployment of C-130 aircraft and Airmen to Southwest Asia since Feb. 2003, and the second deployment where unit aircraft, aircrew and maintainers operate from Afghanistan.

Over this four month period various Delaware C-130 aircraft and Airmen will leave about every 45 days from New Castle, stopping at various air bases along the way en-route to Afghanistan, and will fly airlift missions wherever needed.

The Delaware Air Guard wing's last flying mission to Southwest Asia began in late April, 2006, returning home late last summer. Flying missions began to Southwest Asia combat zones in Feb., 2003 to support Operation Enduring Freedom and then Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Delaware Air Guard currently has about 30 additional Airmen from the 166th Security Forces Squadron deployed to another combat region in Southwest Asia performing a six-month mission that began Oct., 2007.

Another 45 Airmen from the Delaware Air Guard's 166th Civil Engineer Squadron will deploy to various locations in Southwest Asia starting in late December.

This departure is open to news media, but not to the general public. Photographs and interviews with Airmen are permitted where possible. Media must present driver's license, and proof of vehicle registration. PLEASE CALL AHEAD TO BASE PUBLIC AFFAIRS IF ATTENDING at cell number 302-593-2126.

Directions: From Wilmington take I-95 South to Exit 5A for New Castle, the exit immediately after Exit 5B for Newport. At this point you are only a couple of minutes from the base entrance. You will merge onto Basin Road; at second traffic light turn Right on Commons Boulevard; move into Left lane (just past FedEx building) and take first Left, crossing over Commons Boulevard at the sign for U.S. Air Force, Delaware Air National Guard. IMPORTANT: There is a NEW entrance. You must now do a U-turn on Commons Boulevard, and drive about 200 yards heading back towards Basin Road, and then make the first right onto the new road (this is still Spruance Drive, but not yet marked) to the air base security gate.

The Delaware Air National Guard is a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force with 1,100 positions under Command of the Governor of Delaware, or the President of the United States when mobilized. The Delaware ANG has been serving Delaware and the United States of America since 1946.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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