May 20, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - More than 200 Air National Guardsmen of the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa deployed Thursday morning to provide air support for ground troops in Iraq. After a near 20 hour transport flight, the F-16C fighter unit will spend the next 45 days based in southwest Asia, flying missions to support ground troops in Iraq.
The 138th Fighter Wing has participated with their F-16s in both Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Northern Watch. On September 29, 2002 they deployed over 200 airmen to Turkey
to help enforce the Northern Watch No-Fly Zone over Northern Iraq
. This was the unit's fifth deployment to Incirlik. Earlier deployments were in 1996 and on September 29, 2002.
The F-16s are used for General Purpose missions. The laser targeting pod system for precision guided monitoring has been incorporated into the unit mission and they are doing a lot of Night Vision Goggle training.