188th Fighter Wing Deploys 275 Airmen to Afghanistan
The Fourth of July is just two days away, but local Airmen and women won’t be spending Independence Day with their families. Instead, they’re in route to Afghanistan.
“You can certainly see the look in the faces of those that haven’t gone before and those that have,” said Major John Ensley with the 188th Fighter Wing.
The 188th Fighter Wing at the Arkansas National Guard base in Fort Smith deployed 275 airmen Monday afternoon to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Waving red, white, and blue hundreds of family and friends gathered to see their loved ones leave the base.
“It’s something I’m used to, but you never really get used to it,” said mother Lynn Wilson.
Wilson went to see off two of her sons.
“I’m just very very proud of them and everybody that’s going, and let’s just pray for them that everything’s ok,” said Wilson.
The deployment is part of an Air Expeditionary Forces (AEF) rotation, which the 188th is sharing with the Baltimore-based 175th Wing, according to a news release Maj. Heath Allen.
The airmen will be deployed for about three months, Maj. Allen said.
The group is joining 75 airmen from the 188th who deployed in March. Twenty members of the 188th left earlier in the week for Afghanistan to prepare for the rest of the groups arrival.
In all, the 188th will deploy approximately 375 Airmen to Afghanistan during this AEF, Maj. Allen said.
“Almost all my family has been in the military, so it means a lot just to have them going overseas fighting for us,” said Alexis Looper.