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100 Alaska Air National Guard members deploy to Mideast

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Senior Airman Kristen Harmening, an aviation resource manager from the 176 Operations Group, says farewell to her son and husband here June 26, 2013, before she leaves on her first deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Senior Airman Kristen Harmening, an aviation resource manager from the 176 Operations Group, says farewell to her son and husband here June 26, 2013, before she leaves on her first deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen recieve a deployment briefing before they say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen recieve a deployment briefing before they say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Master Sgt. Rebecca McCart, the customer support  supervisor of the 176 Logistics Readiness Squadron, says farewell to her family here June 26, 2013, before she leaves on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Master Sgt. Rebecca McCart, the customer support supervisor of the 176 Logistics Readiness Squadron, says farewell to her family here June 26, 2013, before she leaves on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Lt. Col. Dirk Cain, the group's mission commander, bids farewell to the vice wing commander, Col. Charles Stevenson, before he leaves on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Lt. Col. Dirk Cain, the group's mission commander, bids farewell to the vice wing commander, Col. Charles Stevenson, before he leaves on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska air guardsmen say farewell to their friends, families and coworkers here June 26, 2013, before they leave on deployment. Nearly 100 air guardsmen from across the 176 Wing, mostly from the 176 Maintenance Group and 176 Operations Group, left for Kuwait this week in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Approximately 50 air guardsmen from the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing deployed June 26 and about another 50 are scheduled to leave later this week to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The deployers are primarily from the Wing's 176 Maintenance Group and 144 Airlift Squadron, plus additional support personnel.

For a few, this is their first deployment.

"I don't know what I'm going to face," said Tech. Sgt. Orelvis Ibarra, a knowledge operations manager with the 176 Wing command staff, "but I'm staying positive, keeping up that good team spirit."

The group's primary wartime mission is to support the movement of cargo and personnel. Most of the deployers will remain in Kuwait on a 60-day rotation.

"The success of the mission depends on everyone going," said Senior Master Sgt. John Cyr, the first sergeant of the 176 Wing's staff agencies, 144 Airlift Squadron and 176 Operations Support Squadron. "I think everyone will succeed."
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