Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Idaho Air National Guard deploying to fight ISIS in Middle East

190th Fighter Squadron A-10 A-10A Thunderbolt II 78-0584 (USAF Photo)

Story by KBOI News Staff (thanks to Ron P for heads up)

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - More than 500 members of the Idaho Air National Guard will be sent to the Middle East this spring and summer to help with the fight against ISIS.
The Guard says the deployment of their A-10s in the 124th Fighter Wing based at Gowen Field is part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

"This mission, part of its federal responsibility, is in response to the Department of Defense looking at our capabilities and our talents and we fit the bill for this deployment," said Major Chris Borders, the public affairs officer for the Idaho National Guard.

Officials say they will be sending multiple aircraft, pilots, maintenance personnel, security forces, medical personnel, and various other support staff.

"This deployment highlights the dedication of the 124th Fighter Wing and its members, as well as the community of families, state and local leaders, neighbors and employers who have demonstrated once again their steadfast and unwavering support of Idaho's service members," Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter said in a press release. "The impact on the community is recognized and their sacrifice is deeply appreciated."
The Guard says deployments typically last 180 days and that personnel will travel in smaller groups over the next few months.

"This is what we do, this is the culminating event for our guard members," Borders said. "This probably might very well be a highlight in an airman's career."

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the Warthog, has been in the center of controversy recently, as the Pentagon has been trying to retire the aircraft in favor of the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, which has been plagued by delays during its development.

Last month, Pentagon officials delayed the retirement plan, saying the A-10 was critical in the fight against the Islamic State.