Vermont Air National Guard to Deploy Overseas

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Vermont Air National Guard's 158th Fighter Wing participate in a special event held June 6 to promote Air Force Week New England which will take place in August.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Robert Sabonis)

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Vermont Air National Guard's 158th Fighter Wing participate in a special event held June 6 to promote Air Force Week New England which will take place in August. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Robert Sabonis)

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) has received orders to deploy to the USAF Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) in support of its U.S. Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF) Mission and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

The VTANG will send around 250 members and a contingent of F-16s to the Middle East for a period of approximately 45 days where they will launch and support F-16 operations that provide aerial protection and strategic support to Iraqi and Multi-National Force personnel serving on the ground. This U.S. Air Force tasking has been filled by members of the VANG on a voluntary basis. Vermont is conducting this deployment in conjunction with one other fighter wing.

Approximately 40 Air Guard members will depart in late July as an advanced party to establish the in-theater infrastructure required for the remaining VANG members, who will be arriving in the AOR in early August.

For Operational Security reasons, specific departure information will be announced just prior to the actual departure.

In an effort to rapidly deploy anywhere on the globe, the U.S. Air Force divided deployable personnel and assets from Active, Guard and Reserve units into 10 AEF packages. The U.S. Air Force implemented the AEF schedule October 1, 1999.