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Guard Members Head For Italy

About 130 Spokane-area residents are leaving for Italy this week to help enforce a no-fly zone near Bosnia.

Members of the 141st Air Refueling Wing of the Washington Air National Guard are leaving Fairchild Air Force Base in three KC-135E tankers. The first group of 50 left Tuesday; the rest follow today and Thursday.

Based in Pisa, Italy, the tankers and their crews will be the lead refueling unit supporting NATO aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone.

The Guard contingent won’t set foot in Bosnia, said Capt. Kay Steward, Guard spokeswoman.

The crews will return to Spokane on Oct. 15, 17 and 18. They will be replaced by another 130 Spokane-area Guard members who will work the mission until November.

All of the crews from the 141st should be home by Nov. 3, Steward said.

The first group will be under the command of Col. Walter Hodgen. The second group will be led by Col. Jim Wynne. , DataTimes