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167th Airlift Wing joins Kosovo relief effort

April 10, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - About 30 members of the West Virginia National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing are ready for short-notice deployment to Europe on a civilian relief mission related to the situation in Kosovo, a spokesman said Saturday.

Members who have been identified to participate in the mission are considered on active duty at this point, said Lt. Col. Roger Sencindiver.

"So we're just waiting on the call," Sencindiver said.

Their mission is to support Operation Shining Hope, an international humanitarian relief effort resulting from the Serb expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, he said.

The wing members, primarily air crews and maintenance personnel, and C-130H3 Hercules aircraft will operate from a European Command site with other Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units, he said.

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At this point, Sencindiver said he doesn't know exactly what support wing aircraft and members will provide. Based on similar missions in the past, he said he assumes they'll mostly transport supplies where needed.

"It's real iffy, real sketchy. We don't know much yet," he said.

The Airlift Wing, based at Eastern Regional Airport, has about 1,150 members, Sencindiver said.

Wing members and aircraft have participated in numerous operational and humanitarian missions, including operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Provide Promise, Joint Endeavor, Southern Watch and Joint Guard, he said.

The wing's last relief mission was to Central America to aid hurricane victims, he said.

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