Last of nearly 140 Oklahoma Airmen deploy to Southwest Asia

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kasey Phipps
  • 137th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

The last of about 140 Airmen from the 137th Special Operations Wing left the base, here, near the end of January for a 6-month deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Airmen were the last of the latest round of deployers who left as part of a base-wide deployment to nine different locations in the Southwest Asia, where 137th forces are working across 20 countries with multiple airframes and multiple missions among various branches of the U.S. military and international military forces.

“Guardsmen are a valuable asset to the department of defense,” said Chief Master Sergeant Jeffrey Elders, 137th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent, who was there to see the Airmen off. “As well as being low cost and a force multiplier, we bring critical experience and relief to overused active duty forces. These deployments give our Air National Guard members the chance to contribute to their country’s strategic goals and instill a sense of pride and belonging to the Airmen.”

The deployment is part of the 137 SOW’s first standard air expeditionary force rotation, which starting with this one, puts the Air National Guard wings into four-year Reserve Component Periods, or deployment rotations, that deploy every four years. Though this is the first wing deployment under the special operations moniker, this deployment is not connected to the special operations mission set.

The last base-wide wing deployment was in 2003 when the 137th was still a C-130 Hercules airlift wing under the Air Mobility Command.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is the U.S. military mission following the official end of Operation Enduring Freedom and combat operations in Afghanistan that adds to the continued security of the region, while Operation Inherent Resolve reflects the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region, and the wider international community.