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Hawaii Air National Guard KC-135 Tankers Return from Middle East Mission

Two Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, and associated personnel returned to Hawaii today following a deployment to the Middle East, where they had supported Operation Inherent Resolve.

A third tanker and additional personnel are scheduled to return later this week.  The KC-135 tankers and flight crews deployed six months ago to refuel U.S. and other coalition aircraft that are striking ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.  Deployment durations for individual Airmen ranged from more than two months to six months.

Aerial refueling is essential to U.S. air operations around the world.  The refueling allows fighter jets and other aircraft to remain over the battlefield longer, which allows greater support to U.S. and coalition forces fighting on the ground.   The HIANG is not releasing individual names of 203rd ARS personnel due to possible threats from ISIS and/or ISIS sympathizers.

The 203rd Air Refueling Squadron is one of three flying units within the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, the largest and most complex wing in the entire Air National Guard.   The Guard is tasked with being ready for war or any other operational contingency overseas and well as disaster response here at home.