Eielson guard unit returns home from desert of Oman

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Members of an Alaska Air National Guard unit have returned to Eielson Air Force Base after following a deployment in the desert of Oman.

The 50 members of the 168th Air Refueling Wing returned home Wednesday.

Wing commander Col. Tim Scott said a U.S. Air Force directive aims to have guard and reserve units deactivated by the end of September after a year on full-time status. Scott said the first group of 52 people was deactivated Wednesday.

Traditional guard members can go back to their civilian jobs, serving one weekend a month and two weeks a year in the guard, while others can go back to their full-time Department of Defense jobs working for the wing.

However, the 55 members in the security forces squadron will continue to fill 90-day rotational deployments in the Middle East indefinitely, Scott said.

There are still about 25 airmen and a KC-135 air tanker in the tent city that makes up the 406th Air Expeditionary Wing near Thumrait in southern Oman, a Middle Eastern country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

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