FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Eielson Air Force Base personnel are seeing their first large deployment since the Sept. 11 attacks, but Air Force officials are not giving any details about where they've been sent or what their duties are.
Roughly 200 people have deployed from the base since Sept. 11, with nearly 800 to be deployed by the holidays, base commander Brig. Gen. Bob DuLaney said.
Most of the 200 people who have already left were deployed in small groups to different locations. But the most recent activity will send people, equipment and support staff from the 354th Fighter Wing's two fighter squadrons and their supporting agencies.
The deployment will proceed in groups and on different days.
A number of A-10s have already left, and more are scheduled to join them. The twin-engine jets are used for close air support of ground forces against ground targets such as tanks and other armored vehicles. They can also be used in search and rescue operations.
A group of F-16 fighters will also be deployed, Master Sgt. John Norgren said.
Air Force officials will not say where the personnel are going, how many are leaving, or how long they will be gone.
''It's not that we don't want to talk about it. It's operational security we're weighing here,'' Norgren said. ''We have to err on the idea of caution. And most of all, for the protection of our people.''
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