Part Time Airmen, Full Time Patriots

148th Fighter Wing Airmen return to Duluth, Minn. after a deployment to Southwest Asia, Aug. 8, 2018. The 148th Fighter Wing has deployed almost half of their Airmen since October 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph Kapustka)
October 12, 2018

While Air National Guardsmen are in traditional status, they perform their mission one weekend a month, two weeks a year.

However, the Air National Guardsmen of Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing been performing their mission at a much greater rate than that; nearly half of the 148th’s Airmen served at a full-time rate and deployed in fiscal year 2018.

Approximately 300 148th Air National Guardsmen deployed overseas to an undisclosed location in support of Operation Inherent Resolve earlier this year.

These Airmen were assigned to the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, serving as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CTR-OIR). While overseas, they generated, executed, and sustained combat airpower across their assigned region. CTR-OIR was committed to defeating ISIS and setting conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.

The 148th Airmen were deployed for three to four months, depending on the needed skillset, and were well-trained and ready, performing to an extremely high level to support their overseas mission.

“Over fiscal year 2018, the 148th Fighter Wing has had close to 500 of our Airmen deploy,” said Col. Christopher Blomquist, 148th Fighter Wing Commander.

The 148FW also supported Reserve Component Periods (RCP), during which approximately 150 Airmen deployed overseas to various locations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“We have never had close-to-half of the base gone, or that many members deployed all at once,” he added.

“There were countless times that people volunteered to help families of a deployed 148th member in need.” said Blomquist. “I would like to personally thank the community, families, friends and employers of our Airmen for supporting them during this time.”

The 148FW flies the F-16CM, Block 50 Fighting Falcon. The Duluth based unit is one of only two Air National Guard wings tasked to provide Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) support for our nation.