176th Wing begins largest deployment since 2003

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Senior Airman Donald Haretuku, an aircrew flight equipment specialist for the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Operations Support Squadron, plays the guitar and sings with family and friends while waiting to depart Alaska for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Senior Airman Donald Haretuku, an aircrew flight equipment specialist for the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Operations Support Squadron, plays the guitar and sings with family and friends while waiting to depart Alaska for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Master Sgt. Dennis Mobley, a helicopter crew chief with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, spends some quality time with his daughter Kailee and his wife, Heidi, while waiting to depart Alaska for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Master Sgt. Dennis Mobley, a helicopter crew chief with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, spends some quality time with his daughter Kailee and his wife, Heidi, while waiting to depart Alaska for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Airman 1st Class Steven Wahl, a helicopter crew chief with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, kisses his mom, Kim, and wraps his arm around his sister, Karissa, as he prepares to leave for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. Wahl is flanked by his father, Nick, and his cousin, Tiffany Stroman. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Airman 1st Class Steven Wahl, a helicopter crew chief with the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, kisses his mom, Kim, and wraps his arm around his sister, Karissa, as he prepares to leave for Afghanistan May 28, 2012. Wahl is flanked by his father, Nick, and his cousin, Tiffany Stroman. More than 180 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing are deploying for about 120 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing load an HH-60 "Pave Hawk" search and rescue helicopter onto a C-17 "Globemaster III" for a 120-day deployment to Afghanistan May 28, 2012. The helicopter is a part of a package of equipment and crew that is deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing load an HH-60 "Pave Hawk" search and rescue helicopter onto a C-17 "Globemaster III" for a 120-day deployment to Afghanistan May 28, 2012. The helicopter is a part of a package of equipment and crew that is deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shannon Oleson)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing load an HH-60 "Pave Hawk" search and rescue helicopter onto a C-17 "Globemaster III" for a 120-day deployment to Afghanistan May 28, 2012. The helicopter is a part of a package of equipment and crew that is deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Capt. John Callahan.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing load an HH-60 "Pave Hawk" search and rescue helicopter onto a C-17 "Globemaster III" for a 120-day deployment to Afghanistan May 28, 2012. The helicopter is a part of a package of equipment and crew that is deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Capt. John Callahan.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- More than 180 citizen-Airmen of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176 Wing have begun deploying for Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The deployment marks the wing's single largest deployment of personnel since 2003. It will be the wing's second large-scale deployment from JBER since the Guard organization relocated here in February 2011 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.

The deploying Airmen are primarily maintenance crews from the wing's 176 Maintenance Group and rescue personnel from the wing's three rescue units: HH-60 "Pave Hawk" helicopter pilots and crew from the 210th Rescue Squadron; HC-130 "Hercules" pilots and crew from the 211th; and pararescuemen and combat rescue officers from the 212th. Together with a handful of Expeditionary Combat Support personnel from other 176th Wing units, the deployers form a highly capable and versatile rescue package.

In Afghanistan, the rescuers will pursue their primary wartime mission of combat search-and-rescue. This often involves challenging casualty-evacuation missions - that is, flying into "hot" combat zones, frequently under fire, to pull wounded coalition service members to safety and transport them to a treatment facility within one hour. The maintenance crews will support this vital work by keeping the rescuers' planes and helicopters ready for flight at a moment's notice.

"We are very, very proud of our deploying men and women," said the wing's commander, Col. Scott Wenke. "These are highly trained and motivated professionals who will do an outstanding job in support of coalition efforts to help the Afghan people build a better future for their country. I thank them for their service, and look forward to their safe return."

Since 1952, the 176 Wing has effectively served Alaskans at home and American interests abroad. It has supported large-scale deployments each year since 2003. The wing currently has more than 50 civil engineers, security personnel and other expeditionary combat Airmen deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

One of the largest and busiest wings in the Air National Guard, the 176 Wing also provides alert rescue and air defense capabilities in support of the 11th Air Force and Alaska NORAD Region.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.