Twenty-six airmen from Kingsley Field are preparing to deploy to a combat zone in Central Asia.

The Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Security Forces Squadron will ship out in early fall and be stationed overseas for at least six months, said Col. Curtis Waite, mission support group commander at Kingsley Field. The unit will provide security for Air Force personnel in a combat zone, he said.

The security forces squadron was stationed at a support base in Kyrgyzstan about four years ago. But this deployment will be the unit's first to a combat zone, Waite said.

"They're going to be in the middle of it," he said.

Of those set to deploy, many are from the Klamath Basin, said Lt. Col. Martin Balakas, spokesman with the Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Fighter Wing, stationed at Kingsley. It's an exciting an anxious time for those about to ship out.

"You're excited to go and do what you're trained for; you're excited to undertake your mission," Balakas said. "At the same time, it's awful hard to leave family and friends behind."

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