Monday, March 8, 2010

188th Airmen Deploy

Staff Writer
10:08 AM CST, March 8, 2010

Hundreds of people gathered at the Air National Guard base in Fort Smith this morning to send off 200 members of the 188th.

The unit will be going to Afghanistan.

This is their first deployment since 2005.

They will be teaming up with an Air National Guard unit out of Maryland.

The two groups will be splitting a four month rotation with each unit serving for two months.

The last time they were deployed, they were with the F-16 Fighting Falcons.

This time, they will be going with the A-10 Warthogs.

Officials say there are 50 airmen from the 188th already in Afghanistan. Those soldiers have been there since January 4th.


5NEWS / KFSM-TV also reported:

188th Air National Guard Deploying 200 Airmen

Kate Luck Reporter
9:47 PM CST, March 7, 2010

Family and friends will gather bright and early on the Air National Guard base in Fort Smith Monday as 200 members of the 188th will deploy to Afghanistan. This will be the first deployment for the 188th since 2005.

That was in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now they'll be heading to Kandahar, Afghanistan with a new mission and new aircraft.

The 188th will be relieving another Air National Guard out of Maryland. The two groups are splitting a four month deployment. However, some members of the 188th have been in Afghanistan since January 4th.

Many of the airmen leaving Monday morning have been deployed before. But this time will be different, since the 188th traded their F-16's for A-10 Warthogs. "A lot of differences since 2005. It's the combination of a lot of hard work. An aircraft transition doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of individuals doing their jobs and it's a very difficult process. We're ready to meet that challenge," said Capt. Heath Allen.

First Sergeant Mark Allen will be leaving tomorrow morning with the 188th. He says they've been training intensely for the past few months. "The mindset of us going in is training, training, training, just like our full time job. But this time you know at the end of the training, you're going to get deployed somewhere," said Sgt. Allen.

He will be leaving behind his wife of ten years, who is a member of the Army National Guard. Even though they have been through a deployment before, he says it never gets easier. "You're trying to prepare yourself over these months for that absence from your family and it's never really easy," said Sgt. Allen. While there, the unit will provide close air support to the army and help protect the ground troops. They will return in two months.

Associated video, embedded from


5NEWS / KFSM-TV also published the following AP news:

Ark. Air National Guard's 188th Fighter Wing sending 200 airman from Fort Smith to Afghanistan

By Associated Press
5:32 PM CST, March 7, 2010

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is sending 200 airmen to Afghanistan from an Air National Guard unit at Fort Smith.

A news release Sunday from the Arkansas National Guard said the airmen would leave Fort Smith on Monday.

According to the release, this will be the unit's first deployment with the A-10 Thunderbolt II — popularly known as the "Warthog" — since the 188th received the aircraft in April 2007.

The announcement said the airmen leaving Monday would join about 75 members of the 188th already in Afghanistan. The release said those leaving Monday will be deployed for about two months.


Related news:
200 Airmen Set To Deploy (Southwest Times Record)

For additional Kandahar A-10C deployment info please check Warthog News lable Kandahar.

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