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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Duluth Air Guard F-16s heading to Iraq

April 22, 2005 (by damageinc75) - More than 400 members of the 148th Fighter Wing will be sent to Iraq next month in the largest deployment of a Duluth-based National Guard unit since World War II.

USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1235 of the 179th FS on finals during Red Flag 05/01 at Nellis AFBon October 30th, 2004. [Tailslides photo by Peter]

Pilots, mechanics and other soldiers will begin leaving after May 1 and they will serve for up to six months in Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere.

About 50 members in support roles will serve in 10 other locations, including Germany, England and Spain.

The 148th has been training for its deployment for two years. Five times during the past 13 months, pilots, mechanics and others went to Arizona and Nevada to simulate the work they'll do in Iraq and Kuwait. Training in Duluth has been stepped up.

Other members being activated include security officers, health care professionals, civil engineers, firefighters and communications experts.

An advance team will go first, followed by jets, then equipment, then personnel. About 700 members will remain in Duluth.

The 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard is located at the Duluth International Airport, Duluth, MN. They currently fly the F16 ADF Fighting Falcon in the General Purpose mission.

At the end of 2003, the 148th completed the conversion from the F-16A block 15 aircraft to the F-16C block 25 aircraft.