August 6, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Several hundred members of the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing, based at Toledo Express Airport, will deploy to the Middle East during the coming weeks to support U.S. military operations there.
Tail detail of USAF F-16C block 42 #89-2098 of the 112th FS/180th FW. [Photo by Frank Ertl]
Maj. Michael Timbrook, who pilots an F-16 and oversees the unit's training program, said some support staff already have traveled to the undisclosed location for preparatory purposes. Pilots and other front-line personnel will go over later this month and are likely to be there for 30 to 45 days, he said.
Major Timbrook referred further questions to Lt. Col. Carole Allan, head of wing public affairs, who confirmed that the 180th "as a whole is in its operational cycle this year" and is "getting ready to fulfill our obligation" for active duty.
Except to say that the deployed members of the unit will not be stationed in Iraq
, Colonel Allan declined to say where the assignment will take them.
Some sources say the unit will go for about a month-long training exercise in Qatar, a nation on the Arabian penninsula.
In 1996, 1998, and 1999 the 180th Fighter Wing enforced the Northern no-fly zone over Iraq in Operations Provide Comfort and Operation Northern Watch.