Nov 20, 2015 12:19 PM

NH Air National Guard providing air refueling services for bombers, fighters in Syria

PORTSMOUTH - About 150 members of the N.H. Air National Guard are in the Middle East and providing air refueling for fighters and bombers involved in the fight against ISIS.

“We’ve had a (KC-135) tanker in that region for quite a while and now we’re in a fairly large deployment, on the Air National Guard side, to that region,” Maj. Gen. William Reddel, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard, told the Union Leader.

“There’s been an increase in the operations’ tempo,” he said of this past week since the attacks in Paris.

Those involved are members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, based at Pease, according to Lt. Col. Gregory Heilshorn, public affairs officer for the New Hampshire National Guard. He stressed that the local airmen are “not in a combat environment.”

“We’re refueling the bombers that are carrying out the operations over Syria,” Heilshorn said. “So we’ve got tankers on the front lines and we’re still doing missions from Pease here,” he said.

Friday, Reddel was headed to the undisclosed location where the refueling unit is based, after visiting with Army National Guardsmen from the 3rd Battalion, 197th Field Artillery Regiment, which is also serving in the Middle East.

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