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More Aircraft, Personnel Set for Allied Force

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 11, 1999 – Defense Secretary William Cohen signed an order deploying 176 more fighter and tanker aircraft to support NATO's Operation Allied Forces, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said May 7.

"This is part of a NATO-wide effort to increase the size of the air force to be used against targets in Kosovo and Yugoslavia more broadly," Bacon said.

Deploying to Europe is a squadron of A-10s (18 aircraft), a squadron of F-16CJs (18 aircraft), two squadrons of F-15Es (36 aircraft total), two squadrons of F/A-18Ds (24 aircraft total) and up to 80 KC-135 equivalent tanker aircraft. Bacon did not announce where the aircraft will be based.

The deployment is part of the U.S. response to a recent request from Gen. Wesley K. Clark, commander in chief, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, for 300 more U.S. aircraft. The deployment will bring the total of U.S. aircraft in Operation Allied Force to more than 800.

An additional 2,789 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve service members will be called up as part of the order. The A-10s will come from three Air Guard units: the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Field in Westfield, Mass.; the 110th Fighter Wing, Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Mich.; and the 124th Fighter Wing, Boise, Idaho.

Active duty units will also deploy. The 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., will deploy 18 F-16CJs. The 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., will deploy 36 F-15E Strike Eagles. Marine Aircraft Group 31 from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., will deploy 24 F/A-18 Hornets.

Another 524 Air Force Red Horse engineers will deploy from Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and from Great Falls, Mont. The Kelly engineers are members of the Air Force Reserve. The Montanans are Air National Guard. "The Red Horse team will work on refugee camps in Albania helping to cope with the flow there," Bacon said.

The Air Force is also calling up 60 to 70 weather forecasters and some Air Force intelligence people.

Bacon said more reserve component service members will be called up "when we settle on the exact tanker units that will be going over from the Guard or the Reserve. We reckon that about 15 of those 80 [tankers] will come from the Guard or the Reserve, but we don't have those units identified yet."

The total number of reservists called up so far is 5,035 -- all Air Force.

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