Kentucky Air Guardsmen deploy to Persian Gulf

By Lt. Col. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 123rd Airlift Wing board a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 23, 2018, prior to deploying to the Persian Gulf region. The Airmen will spend four months flying troops and cargo across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which Includes Iraq, Afghanistan and northern Africa. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More than 30 members of the 123rd Airlift Wing here deployed to the Persian Gulf today in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the multinational campaign to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Airmen departed from the Kentucky Air National Guard Base aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft and are expected to be overseas about four months, said Col. David Mounkes, wing commander. They will operate from an undisclosed air base while flying troops and cargo across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which includes Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Today’s Airmen join more than 150 other Kentucky Air Guardsmen who began deploying to Southwest Asia and Africa in November, Mounkes said. Most of those Airmen will serve on tours lasting six months, working from multiple locations to fill a broad spectrum of missions ranging from civil engineering and finance to public affairs and security forces.

“While some of our wing’s personnel are deployed worldwide almost every day of the year, this is an especially busy time for us,” Mounkes said. “Every two years, we enter a deployment cycle when we know the Air Force will ask more of us, and now is that time.

“I am extremely proud of our Airmen, many of whom are leaving civilian jobs and families while they continue to answer their nation’s call by serving with distinction all over the world. I’d also like to thank the family members and civilian employers of our Guardsmen for their essential support. We simply could not do our mission without them.”

Additional deployments are expected through the spring, totaling approximately one-third of the wing’s personnel. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Kentucky Air National Guard has deployed Airmen to more than 40 countries worldwide, logging over 400,000 days of service.