Thirty airmen out of the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Glenville departed Friday morning for deployment in Afghanistan to assist in war efforts.
The airmen assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing will fly missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and will be taking one of the base’s C-130 Hercules aircraft.
They will be overseas for at least 60 days, moving people and supplies from place to place, said National Guard spokesman Eric Durr.
Family and friends bid farewell to the airmen before they boarded the C-130 Friday morning.
The 109th Airlift Wing is best known for its LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft that assist in National Science Foundation missions in Antarctica and Greenland. But its members also regularly deploy in support of American and allied operations.
Relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan have been tense in recent weeks after the accidental burning of Qurans and other religious materials at Bagram, a small town near the largest U.S. military base in the region.
The 109th Airlift Wing will be conducting intra-theater transport, which can include air movement and delivery of personnel and equipment directly through landing, airdrop, extraction or other techniques. They will also be providing air logistic support.
With the Department of Defense facing drastic cuts, Schenectady County’s air base, along with New York state’s other four air bases, will be reviewed as part of an economic impact study being commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The study is designed to make the case for keeping New York’s bases open.