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115th Fighter Wing deploying to support Operation Iraqi Freedom

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- An F-16C Fighter Aircraft from the 332nd Expeditionary Wing, Balad Airbase, Iraq performs an afterburner takeoff on its way to fly a combat mission in the skies over Iraq.  Operations, maintenance and support personnel are deployed from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wisconsin Air National Guard.  Their contributions are in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Richardson)  (Released)

A 115th Fighter Wing F-16C Fighting Falcon, performs an afterburner takeoff on its way to fly a combat mission in the skies over Iraq during a deployment in early 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daniel Richardson)

MADISON, Wis. -- Families and friends will bid farewell to approximately 200 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing. Send-offs are scheduled for Thursday, Sept 17, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, Sept 19, at 10:00 a.m. at the Wisconsin Guard's Joint Force Headquarters, 2400 Wright St., Madison.

Immediately afterwards, the Airmen will depart as part of an aviation package deployment which includes F-16 fighter aircraft, pilots, aircraft maintenance specialists and support personnel. While the personnel package will be departing on Thursday, the F-16's are expected to depart early next week. Residents can expect to hear noise generated from aircraft departures between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. It should be noted that take-off times are designed to correlate with specified arrival times at their destination.

The approximately two-month long deployment is part of the wings scheduled Air Expeditionary Force rotation. The 115th has previously deployed their aviation package in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom in December, 2004 to Southwest Asia, and June 2006 and January 2008 to Iraq. Their mission is to support ground forces in Iraq with close air support and other combat capabilities directed by the combatant commander. 

The 115th Fighter Wing Airmen are continually deploying around the world. This deployment cycle will require more than 300 Airmen to deploy in support of the global war on terror. 

EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: News media representatives are welcome to cover the send-off ceremony Thursday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. at Joint Force Headquarters-Wisconsin, 2400 Wright Street, Madison, at the intersection of Wright Street and Minuteman Drive. Use the main entrance at the building's southeast corner. This event is not open to the general public, so we would appreciate any advance news stories not imply that the general public is invited.
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