Iowa Airmen Head Overseas in Biggest Deployment Since Vietnam War

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard, refuels an A-10 from the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, during a flying training deployment at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, July 26, 2016. This is the first time personnel and aircraft from the 185th ARW are providing support for an Estonian FTD which allows them to further develop relationships with their NATO allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Missy Sterling/released)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – Nearly 300 members of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing will be headed overseas in October.

Officials say it’s the unit’s biggest deployment since the Vietnam War.

The wing commander, Col. Larry Christensen, said Thursday the series of deployments will range from 30 days to six months at several locations in the Arabian Peninsula and in the Pacific.

Nearly 200 of the airmen will join members of the Fort Dodge-based 133rd Test Squadron for six months in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The 185th flew fighter jets before changing over to KC-135 Stratotankers in 2003 for refueling missions. The then 800-member unit was called to active duty in 1968 and deployed to South Vietnam for combat flights.

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