HomeMediaArticle Display

Midnight Sun Guardians deploy to Iraq

Airmen of 176th Wing deploy to Iraq.

Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Adam Brister, a pararescueman with the 212th Rescue Squadron, takes an inventory of equipment he needs for deployment Sept. 25, 2018 at a 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron warehouse on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Airmen of 212th RQS and other 176th Wing units deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David Bedard/Released)

Airmen of 176th Wing deploy to Iraq.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker greets Alaska Air National Guard Senior Airman Aaron Hamilton, an aircrew flight equipment Airman with the 176th Operations Support Squadron, Sept. 25, 2018, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, before Hamilton and other Airmen deploy with the 212th Rescue Squadron to Iraq. The Airmen are supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David Bedard/Released)

Airmen of 176th Wing deploy to Iraq.

Alaska Air National Guard Senior Airman Aaron Hamilton, an aircrew flight equipment Airman with the 176th Operations Support Squadron, Senior Airman Jared Isaacson, a pararescueman with the 212th Rescue Squadron, and Senior Airman Jeff Eisberg, a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist with the 212th Rescue Squardon, are set to deploy to Iraq at the end of September 2018 in support of Operations Inherent Resolve. Approximately 20 Airman from the 176th Wing will provide combat search and rescue support during the deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher/Released)


Approximately 20 Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing are deploying to Iraq at the end of September in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

According to the operation's Web site, the mission of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve is to defeat the Islamic State group in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.

The Airmen deploying are mainly combat rescue officers, pararescuemen, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE) specialists of the wing's 212th Rescue Squadron and key support personnel from other wing units.

“Our main job there will be to provide combat search and rescue for American aviators, and Soldiers and Airmen who might find themselves in harm's way,” said Maj. John Romspert, 212th RQS director of operations. “Our job is to go rescue them and bring them back.”

Romspert said it isn't unusual for the wing to support overseas contingency operations in locations such as Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, though the squadron hasn't previously deployed to Iraq.

“This is the first time the 212th is heading that way, but this unit and this wing have supported Afghanistan (and) the Philippines,” he said. “Our Airmen have been all over the world.”

Pararescueman Staff Sgt. Adam Brister said he expects to be on a 12-hour alert schedule. A typical day consists of exercising and eating breakfast before getting an alert brief. After the brief, pararescuemen and the flight crews they work with wait for radio requests for help.

“It can be Armageddon, or it can be Groundhog Day,” Romspert said.

Romspert said the deploying Airmen have rigorously trained for the past year, sharpening their skills at scuba diving, rock climbing, marksmanship, parachuting and other combat skills.

“We cover the whole gamut,” he said. “That way, we are prepared to rescue anybody at any location.

“Our mission here in Alaska supporting fighter flying across the state and also doing all the civil search and rescue that we do really prepares us to do this anywhere in the world,” Romspert continued. “We just do it a little different in a little different uniform – body armor and gun instead.”

Brister said service in the state is what drew him to the Alaska Air National Guard.

“I love this place because we're given the opportunity to really practice the motto: That others may live,” he said.

Romspert said this is his 14th deployment. Brister said this is his third time. For Senior Airman Jeff Eisberg, a 212th RQS SERE specialist, this is his first time supporting overseas contingency operations.

As a junior Airman, Eisberg attended Basic Military Training and SERE technical school before several months of on-the-job training to prepare for the mission.

“I've taken the last two-and-a-half years to train for this moment,” he said. “My father has two deployments. My brother has a deployment. I’ve always wanted to be deployed; it’s part of the reason I joined the Guard.”

Romspert said every member of the team raised a hand for the mission.

“Everyone volunteered,” he said. “They want to serve not only their country, but their state – to do all of their friends and families here proud.”

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.