TERRE HAUTE -- The Indiana Air National Guard's 181st Fighter Wing, located at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, will deploy about 200 members Thursday to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.
The 181st Fighter Wing members are deploying to support "Operation Northern Watch" which is a United Nations' mission designed to enforce U.N. resolutions that established a "No Fly Zone" over northern Iraq in the early 1990s.
Thursday's deployment marks the third time the 181st Fighter Wing Racers have supported "Operation Northern Watch" and the fourth time the Wing has deployed overseas to support the U.S. Air Force's Aerospace Expeditionary Force.
The current AEF calls on the Racers to "rainbow" with Air National Guard Units from South Dakota and Michigan to cover the 90-day rotation in Turkey. 181st Fighter Wing members will fly and maintain F-16 fighter jets from Indiana, South Dakota and Michigan that are already in the region.
"181st Fighter Wing pilots will fly combat missions over Iraq to enforce the No Fly Zone" said Col. Gary Peters, 181st Fighter Wing Commander. "Our ground support personnel will engage in routine maintenance so the jets are ready to go at a moment's notice to meet whatever tasking we receive.
"This deployment to Turkey, just like last year's mission, is scheduled for 30 days. Of course, that can change depending on the needs of the Air Force. Last year the 181st Fighter Wing also had a 30-day commitment to support Operation Northern Watch, and that commitment was extended to 90 days."