Defining moments, Idaho Air National Guard deploys to Middle East

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard took a moment and waved farewell to family and friends as they deployed on Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016 to join in combat operations in the Middle East. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard took a moment and waved farewell to family and friends as they deployed on Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016 to join in combat operations in the Middle East. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing wait in buses prior to boarding an aircraft at Gowen Field Boise, Idaho April 12, 2016. The Airmen are part of the largest deployment in the Idaho Air National Guard’s history. They are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing wait in buses prior to boarding an aircraft at Gowen Field Boise, Idaho April 12, 2016. The Airmen are part of the largest deployment in the Idaho Air National Guard’s history. They are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing board an aircraft at Gowen Field Boise, Idaho April 12, 2016. The Airmen are part of the largest deployment in the Idaho Air National Guard’s history. They are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing board an aircraft at Gowen Field Boise, Idaho April 12, 2016. The Airmen are part of the largest deployment in the Idaho Air National Guard’s history. They are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Col. Tim Donnellan, the 124th Fighter Wing commander, shakes hands with Airmen from the 124th Fighter Wing as they board an aircraft April 12, 2016. More than 12 civic and military leaders greeted and shook the hands of the Airmen deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Col. Tim Donnellan, the 124th Fighter Wing commander, shakes hands with Airmen from the 124th Fighter Wing as they board an aircraft April 12, 2016. More than 12 civic and military leaders greeted and shook the hands of the Airmen deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen with the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing wait to taxi in an aircraft April 12, 2016. Family, friends, military and civic leaders all gathered to say goodbye to the Airmen who are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen with the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing wait to taxi in an aircraft April 12, 2016. Family, friends, military and civic leaders all gathered to say goodbye to the Airmen who are deploying in support of the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Allmaras/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard took a moment and waved farewell to family and friends as they deployed on Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016 to join in combat operations in the Middle East. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard took a moment and waved farewell to family and friends as they deployed on Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016 to join in combat operations in the Middle East. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing gather on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing gather on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho’s Commanding General, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho’s Commanding General, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho’s Commanding General, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler, Idaho’s Commanding General, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)
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Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Col. Tim Donnellan, the 124th Fighter Wing commander, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)
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Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Col. Tim Donnellan, the 124th Fighter Wing commander, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Stan Ridgeway, Mayor of Eagle, Idaho, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)
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Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing say farewell to family, friends and distinguished visitors on the flight line at Gowen Field in preparation for deployment April 12, 2016. Stan Ridgeway, Mayor of Eagle, Idaho, wishes Airmen a farewell as they depart Tuesday evening. Most of the deploying Guard members will be in the Middle East supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur/Released)

GOWEN FIELD, Idaho (Apr. 13, 2016) -- More than 500 Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard took a moment and waved farewell to family and friends as they deployed on Tuesday evening, April 12, 2016 to join in combat operations in the Middle East.

The 124th Fighter Wing has always answered when called upon. This deployment defines what it means to be an Airman and an Idaho Air National Guardsman when they answered the call to deploy for their first major mission in the U.S.-led fight Operation Inherent Resolve.

"We in the 124th Fighter Wing are proud and ready to answer our nation's call in support of our federal mission," said Col. Tim Donnellan, the 124th Fighter Wing commander. "The high readiness level of the wing is a direct result of the sacrifices our Airmen, their families, and our civilian employers make on a daily basis. This is truly a defining moment, not just in our lives as Airmen, but in the lives of our communities. Today our ready and resilient Airmen wave goodbye to their families, emboldened by the knowledge that this experience will make us better Airmen and citizens."

"This deployment highlights the dedication of the 124th Fighter Wing and its members, as well as the community of families, state and local leaders, neighbors and employers who have demonstrated once again their steadfast and unwavering support of Idaho's service members," Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter said. "The impact on the community is recognized and their sacrifice is deeply appreciated."

A typical combat deployment will last 180 days in country, with multiple departures spread out over the next several months. This mission includes several aircraft, pilots, maintenance technicians, medical personnel, security forces and support staff. 

The Idaho Air National Guard is celebrating its 70th year of flying fighter aircraft in defense of our nation. The wing's 190th Fighter Squadron houses the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. The A-10 Thunderbolt is also known as the Warthog, the 'flying gun' and the Tank Buster. The aircraft was used extensively with Operation Desert Storm, in support of NATO operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Since 1946, the Idaho Air National Guard has always answered the call to serve and that time has come again. Today, Idaho's Citizen Airmen of the 124th Fighter Wing will deploy abroad in defense of our community, our state and our nation," said Idaho's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler. "I am proud of each and every one of you. You are trained and you are ready.  Go forward, accomplish your mission and return home."