By Floyd Nelson, The Washington Informer
Last Friday was the 10th anniversary for the U.S-led Afghanistan war. There were no festive parties, joyous ceremonies or even high-fives to mark the occasion. In fact, Oct. 7, the anniversary date of America’s committed involvement with Afghanistan, went practically unnoticed. In the District of Columbia, however, one group did take note, but they weren’t celebrating because they were going to war.
The 113th Wing of the D.C. National Guard, also known as “Capital Guardians,” began deployment operations Friday, Oct. 7, sending several hundred men and women from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Pilots, aircraft maintenance crews, support personnel and equipment, including F-16 fighter jets, were all part of the deployment.
For some, it was their first deployment. For others, it was one of many. One soldier said she was being sent to Afghanistan for her sixth time. Last weekend also marked the first time Air Force fighter jets were deployed.
It is not unusual for Air National Guard units to support deployment operations in Afghanistan or even Iraq. Unlike other units, however, the Capital Guardians are charged with deploying overseas to Afghanistan while being ordered to maintain a full presence for and take responsibility of air defenses over the National Capital Region (NCR)–the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia.