Home for the Holidays: Kentucky Airmen Wrap Mideast Deployment

More than 90 citizen-Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing returned from a four-month Middle East deployment on Nov. 18, according to a wing release.

The wing’s aircrews completed nearly 5,000 combat sorties, moving 15,000 people and over 10,000 tons of supplies within the U.S. Central Command region in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel, the release stated.

“While deployed, the unit achieved a 99 percent mission effectiveness rate, even while rotating new crews and staff members from other Reserve Component units into and out of the AOR every month,” stated the release.

The Airmen also brainstormed a methodology for and executed an airdrop of “high-illumination flares,” flew humanitarian response missions after August’s port explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, and pulled off CENTCOM’s first-ever integration of a C-130H and C-130J within a single squadron, it added.

The Air Force has tentatively selected the wing to host eight C-130Js. If a mandatory environmental impact analysis goes well, the aircraft are slated to begin arriving in Kentucky next year, Air Force Magazine previously reported.