One hundred airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard have deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and will remain deployed through the Christmas holidays, according to a 127th Wing spokesman. The airmen are part of the 127th Air Refueling Group, which operates the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. “Once again, our airmen have stepped forward and answered the call,” said Brig. Gen. John Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing. “From our youngest airman to our most experienced, one quality shines through—their commitment to serving our great country.” Within the past year, airmen from the 127th ARG have deployed to support operations in the European, Pacific, and Central Command areas of responsibility. The current deployment will end sometime in early 2017.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.