120th airmen, aircraft deploy in support of Operation Spartan Shield

Members of the 120th Airlift Wing of the Montana Air National Guard have begun a four-month deployment to southwest Asia in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

About 130 airmen and four of the wing’s C-130s department last week and are assigned to the 385th Air Expeditionary Wing, the aircrew, aircraft maintainers and additional personnel will provide airlift and airdrop support to operations throughout the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

Montana Guard soldiers return after 9-month Afghanistan deployment

Two C-130s departed Great Falls on June 24, two on June 26 and about 40 passengers departed on a C-17 on Friday, according to the 120th.

120th June 2019 deployment

Airmen from the 120th Airlift Wing board a C-17 on June 28 as they deploy to southwest Asia for about four months. 129th Airlift Wing photo.

“This is what we train for,” 120th Commander Col. Buel Dickson said in a release. “The airmen of the Montana Air National Guard are known throughout the Air Force for their professionalism and can-do attitude.”

819th RED HORSE airmen return from six-month deployment

This scheduled rotation of aircraft and personnel is the second deployment of this type since the wing moved from fighters to transport aircraft in 2015. Approximately 130 airmen, the majority from the 120th Mission Support Group, are returning to Montana in the next several weeks after completing their own four-month deployment at various bases around southwest Asia.

“This has been a busy six months for us,” Dickson said in a release. “We’ve had nearly a third of our airmen deploy in that time. But thanks to the outstanding support of families, friends and the community of Great Falls, we’ve been able to meet all mission requirements.”

The 120th is a C-130 wing specializing in airdrop and airlift missions and is located in Great Falls, Montana. Approximately 1,000 airmen are assigned, of which about 400 are full-time.