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Washington National Guard Aviation unit deploying to Middle East

Washington National Guard Aviation unit deploying to Middle East

CAMP MURRAY, WA – After providing critical aerial support in the fight against wildfires in central and eastern Washington last summer, more than 225 Guard members from 1-168th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) will be deploying in support of ongoing operations in the Middle East.

Citizen-soldiers will operate the CH-47 Chinook helicopters out of a base in Kuwait, providing support throughout the region. This is the second deployment for the entire 1-168th GSAB, however, many of the companies in the battalion have deployed numerous times since 2006. This also marks the largest aviation deployment for the Washington National Guard.

Last summer, 1-168th GSAB played a key role in slowing down the devastating wild fires in Okanagan and Chelan counties. Chinook helicopters helped drop a record two and a half million gallons of water on the Carlton Complex and Chiwaukum Complex fires that burned more than 250,000 acres.

The unit was not available to assist with this year’s wildfires due to requirements for its upcoming federal deployment.

The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Washington National Guard are dedicated to the mission of safeguarding lives and property in Washington State, and serving as sentinels for freedom overseas.