More than 175 members of the District of Columbia Air National Guard are set to deploy for Afghanistan this weekend, an occasion coinciding with the tenth anniversary of U.S. military action in that country.
The deployment marks the first time that an Air National Guard unit is sending F-16 fighter jets to Afghanistan. Pilots, aircraft maintenance crews, and other support staff began leaving Friday. The main group of more than 100 members are due to depart Saturday evening from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Some members of the deployed group are expected to return to the U.S. in late December, while others will be in Afghanistan for longer.