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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Toledo Air Guard unit to see Middle East duty

Pilots and other front-line personnel will go over later this month

Several hundred members of the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing, based at Toledo Express Airport, will deploy to the Middle East during the coming weeks to support U.S. military operations there, officials at the unit said yesterday.

Maj. Michael Timbrook, who pilots an F-16 and oversees the unit's training program, said some support staff already have traveled to the undisclosed location for preparatory purposes. Pilots and other front-line personnel will go over later this month and are likely to be there for 30 to 45 days, he said.

Major Timbrook referred further questions to Lt. Col. Carole Allan, the unit's commander, who confirmed that the 180th "as a whole is in its operational cycle this year" and is "getting ready to fulfill our obligation" for active duty.

Except to say that the deployed members of the unit will not be stationed in Iraq, Colonel Allan declined to say where the assignment will take them.

Major Timbrook said the deployment will be longer than the National Guard's usual two-weeks' active duty, "but that's all right."

As head coach of the Perrysburg High School boys' soccer team, Major Timbrook expects to miss at least the first 12 games of the season, with assistants filling in for him. The absence will give "my assistants an opportunity to see what it's like" to be in charge and handle day-to-day challenges, he said.

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