Family and friends were on hand Tuesday evening at Gowen Field to wish farewell and a safe journey to deploying Idaho Air National Guard personnel.    More than 500 Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing are deploying in support of combat operations in the Middle East.  It's the 124th Fighter Wing's first major deployment in support of U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve.

The mission includes multiple aircraft, pilots, maintenance technicians, medical personnel, security forces and support staff. Typical deployments will last 180 days, with multiple departures spread throughout the next several months.

"This deployment highlights the dedication of the 124th Fighter Wing and its members, as well as families, state, and local leaders, neighbors and employers who have demonstrated once again their strong, unwavering support for Idaho's service members,' Governor C.L."Butch' Otter said. "The impact on the community is recognized and their sacrifice deeply appreciated."

Virtually all units with the 124th Fighter Wing will provide personnel and/or equipment during these combat rotations.

"Since 1946, the Idaho Air National Guard has always answered the call to serve and that time has come again.  Today Idaho's Citizen Airmen of the 124th Fighter Wing will deploy abroad in defense of our community, our state and our nation, "said Idaho's Commanding General Ma. Gen. Gary Sayler. "I am proud of each and every one of you. You are trained and you are ready.  Go forward, accomplish your mission and return home."