Wednesday, August 31, 2011
188th Gearing Up For Deployment
188th Inspection - Master Sgt. Rex Huckley with the 188th Fighter Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard does maintenance on one of the unit's A-10 Thunderbolts on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, on the flightline at Ebbing Air Base. (Photo by Corey S. Krasko, Times Record)
By Jeff Arnold
The Times Record
Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:30 am | Updated: 10:38 am, Tue Aug 30, 2011.
Planning is under way for deployment of the 188th Fighter Wing in 2012 to provide close-air support for ground forces.
Col. Tom Anderson, 188th commander, said the unit is "in the bucket" to deploy to the U.S. Central Command area late next summer.
The Central Command's area of responsibility includes the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and, most notably, Afghanistan and Iraq.
It will be the 188th's second deployment to Central Command since the unit began flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in April 2007.
In March 2010, about 275 members of the 188th deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 188th's Aerospace Expeditionary Forces rotation, sent to provide air support to ground forces fighting in Afghanistan.
"Because the A-10 is such a good close-air support platform and that's the type of engagement our military is involved in these days a lot, I think this won't be out of the ordinary to see us be asked to go back often," Anderson said.
Anderson said planning is still in the early stages and limited details are available, but he hopes to release more information after the Fort Smith Regional Air Show, scheduled for Oct. 1-2.
188th Fighter Wing At Fort Chaffee To Deploy (AP news via KHBS-TV)