Members of Sioux City’s 185th Air National Guard returned home this weekend after serving several months in the Middle East nation of Qatar.
The airmen were flying refueling missions over the skies of Iraq and Syria as part of the U.S. led operation “Inherent Resolve”. Wing Commander, Colonel Larry Christensen, says it’s rare that all of the unit’s aircraft are in Sioux City.
“Very seldom do we have all the aircraft here on base, whether they be in a maintenance status or overseas,” Christensen says. “Not a lot people think of Sioux Gateway Airport or Colonel Bud Day Field as an international field — but we fly internationally all the time.”
Christensen says during this deployment the requirement was to cover a four month period with most of the air crew swapping out midway through. “Typically it’s usually 30 to 60 days. The main reason is because they fly so much they are limited on the number of hours that they can fly,” Christensen says. “And they hit that stop usually about the month-and-a-half period.”
The past several months unit members were attached to the 340th Air Refueling Squadron, the largest Air Refueling squadron ever assembled, at Al Udeid Air Base, refueling U.S. and partner nation aircraft.
By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City