by Maj. Dale Greer
123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
4/24/2015 - KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The
third rotation of more than 40 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen departed
here today for deployment to an undisclosed air base in the Persian
Gulf, where they will fly airlift missions in support of Operation
Freedom's Sentinel is the follow-on mission to Operation Enduring
Freedom. It focuses on training, advising and assisting Afghan security
forces; and on counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.
Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, thanked the
deploying Airmen for their continued commitment to military operations
all over the world.
"The 123rd Airlift Wing has been engaged in the Global War on Terror
from the beginning, and I know you will be a part of this fight until
the very end," Tonini told the Airmen in a briefing just before their
"When our nation, our Air Force and our Commonwealth needs the best,
they call on you. I have the utmost trust and confidence in your
abilities to conduct your mission while overseas, and I thank you for
stepping up once again to answer our nation's call," said Tonini.
The director of the state Board of Elections, Matt Selph, also was on
hand to wish the Airmen farewell as a representative of Alison Lundergan
Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state.
"As a former Army first sergeant in the reconnaissance field who spent
time in Iraq and Afghanistan being transported on C-130s by men and
women just like you," I'd like to relay on behalf of Secretary Grimes
how thankful we are for the jobs that you do and the scarifies that your
families make," Selph said.
"I know I was thankful that men and women like you were able to get me
and my troops deployed and redeployed safely," Selph said.
The Airmen, who departed aboard a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130
Hercules aircraft, will replace earlier rotations of Kentucky Airmen who
deployed in February. While overseas, the Airmen are expected to
transport troops and cargo supporting a range of coalition military
operations in the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility,
which includes Afghanistan, Northern Africa and the Persian Gulf.
Deploying Airmen include aircrew members, aircraft maintenance personnel
and support staff.
The mission is expected to conclude by early July.
The deployment marks the sixth time in the past 12 years that the
Kentucky ANG has sent its aircraft, aircrews and maintenance personnel
to support U.S. military operations in the U.S. Central Command AOR. The
wing deployed aviation assets there in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012,
operating from multiple undisclosed locations and Bagram Air Field,
The wing's non-aviation personnel also have been heavily engaged around
the world since Sept. 11, 2001, logging thousands of deployments to
dozens of overseas locations, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In
October, more than 70 of the wing's Airmen deployed to Africa to support
Operation United Assistance, the international effort to fight the
worst Ebola outbreak in history.