Iowa Air National Guard worldwide deployments continue, as one group returns another departs

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City departed this week for the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility where they will provide air refueling support for U.S. Air Force and partner nation aircraft.

The group of around 100 Airman are deploying as part of a prescheduled Aerospace Expeditionary Force or “AEF” deployment. 

VIDEO | 03:25 | Iowa Air National Guard continues worldwide deployment

The “Aviation Deployment Package” is departing just as another group of 185th ARW members have begun returning home following their “Reserve Component Period” deployments. The returning group of around 50 Airmen began to deploy individually to various locations in CENTCOM last fall.

The returning unit members were mainly from the 185th Support and Medical Groups. These unit members were deployed throughout CENTCOM to bases in Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for six-month-long deployments.

The deployment tasking departing this week has units like the 185th providing aircrew and aircraft maintenance personal along with some of the unit’s KC-135 refueling aircraft.  The group also includes several support personal as part of the aviation deployment package.

The 185th ARW has been providing people and aircraft for operations in CENTCOM for more than a decade where they have been aiding U.S. military operations in the region. According to the CENTCOM website their area of responsibility covers a 21 nation geographic area in Southwest Asia.

Although the deployment concept has fluctuated over time, these deployments have Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units regularly rotating through bases in the area of responsibility. The arrangement has only a portion of the 185th tasked in order to avoid depleting the unit’s capabilities at home.

Air National Guard deployments like this week’s aviation deployment package, have Iowa Guard members mobilizing directly from their home station.  The deployments rely heavily on members of the 185th Logistics Readiness Squadron ensuring unit members meet various deployment requirements including last minute COVID testing.

Earlier this week the 185th Medical Group quickly ushered the deploying Airmen through rapid COVID testing which was the last item on their to-do list before departing.

These Airmen will typically spend a few months in the deployed location where they will provide air refueling support with their KC-135 Statotanker aircraft before returning home.

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