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133rd Airlift Wing deploys again to Middle East

Lt. Col. Georgeanne Johnson and Capt. Stephen Boskovich brief Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on their squadron's mission and contribution to the war on terrorism Oct. 20. The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing is General Schwartz's first stop on his first tour of the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility since his appointment as the Air Force chief of staff. Colonel Johnson and Captain Boskovich are both assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Boquette)

Lt. Col. Georgeanne Johnson and Capt. Stephen Boskovich brief Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on their squadron's mission and contribution to the war on terrorism Oct. 20. The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing is General Schwartz's first stop on his first tour of the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility since his appointment as the Air Force chief of staff. Colonel Johnson and Captain Boskovich are both assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Boquette)

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- As the citizens of St Paul focused on the Republican National Convention, the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing began the first wave of its deployment to Southwest Asia, which will culminate with approximately 300 members of the Wing supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

The length of deployments will range up to six months, depending on the assignment and location. For many 133rd Airlift Wing Airmen, there have been two or more previous deployments over the past six years. Since September 11, 2001, the 133rd Airlift Wing has deployed over 3,900 Airmen to locations around the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

The Wing launched C-130 H3 "Hercules" cargo airplanes from the Minneapolis, St. Paul International Airport on August 25 and August 31, and headed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. According to 133rd Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Greg Haase, the C-130's support many facets of the military mission, including airdrop of supplies and airland where C-130s fly in and out of remote airstrips delivering troops and cargo.

"Another mission, if the need arises, is aeromedical evacuation," says Col. Haase. "We hope they are not needed, but we are ready to exercise any of the primary disciplines the C-130 and crews provide in the theater."

The approximately 300 deploying Airmen come from a variety of career fields within the Wing, including aircrew members, maintenance personnel, security forces, firefighters, civil engineers, and many others.

Last year when the 133rd Airlift Wing deployed to Afghanistan, they accomplished about one thousand combat flights, or sorties, where critical supplies were either flown into a remote airfield in the area or airdropped from the Hercules.

The 133rd Airlift Wing, located at the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport, has been involved in numerous deployments overseas as well as missions supporting the state of Minnesota recently. It is comprised of approximately 1,250 men and women who serve in support of state and national needs.