By Capt. John Capra
313th Air Expeditionary Wing
WESTERN EUROPE - Members of a Wisconsin Air National Guard unit based in Milwaukee have deployed for 90 days in support of Operation Unified Protector, the NATO-led operation in Libya.
Col. Ted Metzgar, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, and a team consisting of a number of 128th ARW members and senior staff, departed Milwaukee on June 10 on a Kansas Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker supporting the same mission.
Metzgar assumed command of the 313th Air Expeditionary Wing on June 17 from Brig. Gen. Roy E. Uptegraff, commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard. The 313th AEW provides air refueling to NATO aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya.
Operation Unified Protector, formerly known as Operation Odyssey Dawn, is a NATO operation enforcing United Nations Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973, which call for protecting the Libyan civilian population from the Libyan military. The resolutions impose sanctions on members of the Moammar Khadaffi regime, authorize international embargos, a no-fly zone and all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians. The operation, which began on March 23, is supported by a coalition of 18 nations.
Metzgar said his personal goal is to provide leadership opportunities for members of the 128th during this mission.
"This experience will provide them with valuable lessons for future command positions in the Wisconsin Air National Guard," Metzgar said. "The 128th ARW will be in good hands when I depart after going through this field experience."