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Tinker Citizen Airmen Deploy to Turkey

Senior Airman Harlan Smith, 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron kisses his daughter and embraces his girlfriend prior to departing for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Smith joined 93 other Citizen Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma who deployed prior to the holiday December 13, 2016.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Senior Airman Harlan Smith, 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron kisses his daughter and embraces his girlfriend prior to departing for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Smith joined 93 other Citizen Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma who deployed prior to the holiday December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Maintenance crews from the 507th Maintenance Group troubleshoot the number three engine of a KC-135R Stratotanker at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma prior to the flight leaving for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.  The engine issue was quickly resolved and the aircraft departed with Citizen Airmen and cargo December 13, 2016 to the deployed location to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Maintenance crews from the 507th Maintenance Group troubleshoot the number three engine of a KC-135R Stratotanker at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma prior to the flight leaving for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The engine issue was quickly resolved and the aircraft departed with Citizen Airmen and cargo December 13, 2016 to the deployed location to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A 507th Air Refueling Wing KC-135R Stratotanker from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is loaded with cargo and prepped prior to delivering some of the 94 Citizen Airmen to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations against ISIL, December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A 507th Air Refueling Wing KC-135R Stratotanker from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is loaded with cargo and prepped prior to delivering some of the 94 Citizen Airmen to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations against ISIL, December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Master Sgt. Angela Vereb, 507th Maintenance Group unit deployment manager scrubs the deployment folder of Staff Sgt. Coty Carter, 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prior to him deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations in Southwest Asia December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Master Sgt. Angela Vereb, 507th Maintenance Group unit deployment manager scrubs the deployment folder of Staff Sgt. Coty Carter, 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prior to him deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations in Southwest Asia December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Deploying Citizen Airmen file into the bus to process for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.  Ninety-four 507th Air Refueling Wing Airmen departed to Southwest Asia Dec 12-13, 2016 to support deployed air refueling operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Deploying Citizen Airmen file into the bus to process for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Ninety-four 507th Air Refueling Wing Airmen departed to Southwest Asia Dec 12-13, 2016 to support deployed air refueling operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Senior Airman Jenifer Wagoner, 507th Maintenance Group loads her bag into a truck Dec 12, 2016 at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma prior to deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.  Wagoner is deployed to support maintenance operations as an analyst. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Airman Jenifer Wagoner, 507th Maintenance Group loads her bag into a truck Dec 12, 2016 at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma prior to deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Wagoner is deployed to support maintenance operations as an analyst. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Master Sgt. Durk Smith, a medical flight technician assigned to the 465th Air Refueling Squadron has his deployment orders reviewed prior to deploying by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Hudson, 507th Logistics Readiness Squadron distribution flight superintendent at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, December 12, 2016. (This image was blurred for operational security/U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Master Sgt. Durk Smith, a medical flight technician assigned to the 465th Air Refueling Squadron has his deployment orders reviewed prior to deploying by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Hudson, 507th Logistics Readiness Squadron distribution flight superintendent at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, December 12, 2016. (This image was blurred for operational security/U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Citizen Airmen from the 507th Operations Support Squadron Intel shop pose for a picture December 12, 2016 prior to deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.  They join 91 other Reservists from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma supporting operations in Southwest Asia with air refueling support to U.S. and coalition aircraft.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Citizen Airmen from the 507th Operations Support Squadron Intel shop pose for a picture December 12, 2016 prior to deploying to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. They join 91 other Reservists from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma supporting operations in Southwest Asia with air refueling support to U.S. and coalition aircraft. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Bags from some of the 94 Reservists from the 507th Air Refueling Wing sit on the flight line prior to being loaded on the KC-135R Stratotanker behind them.  Members of the wing deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations in Southwest Asia December 12-13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Bags from some of the 94 Reservists from the 507th Air Refueling Wing sit on the flight line prior to being loaded on the KC-135R Stratotanker behind them. Members of the wing deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support air refueling operations in Southwest Asia December 12-13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Master Sgt. Jon Russell, 507th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Group Equipment flight chief, supervises ground operations while two KC-135R Stratotankers packed with cargo and some of the 94 Citizen Airmen launch during a cold December 13th evening at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.  The two jets deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)
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Master Sgt. Jon Russell, 507th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Group Equipment flight chief, supervises ground operations while two KC-135R Stratotankers packed with cargo and some of the 94 Citizen Airmen launch during a cold December 13th evening at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The two jets deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Aircrew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron run through pre-flight checks in the KC-135R Stratotanker prior to deploying to Incirlik, Air Base, Turkey here December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)
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Aircrew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron run through pre-flight checks in the KC-135R Stratotanker prior to deploying to Incirlik, Air Base, Turkey here December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A 507th Air Refueling Wing KC-135R Stratotanker from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma starts its engines as it prepares to take some of the 94 Citizen Airman and cargo to Turkey to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia here December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)
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A 507th Air Refueling Wing KC-135R Stratotanker from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma starts its engines as it prepares to take some of the 94 Citizen Airman and cargo to Turkey to support on-going air refueling operations in Southwest Asia here December 13, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Maj. Jon Quinlan)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Ninety-Four Citizen Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing here departed for a deployment to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey to support Operation Inherent Resolve with KC-135R Stratotanker air refueling support.

The group of Reserve Airmen, made up of a mix of operations group and maintenance group professionals is one of the largest groups to leave from Tinker this year to support ongoing operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“The nation’s business is why we are all here,” said Col. Travis Caughlin, 507th Maintenance Group Commander. “We’ve spent a long time training and preparing and it’s very worthwhile when you get to go execute what’s really going on. It doesn’t get any more real than this.”

The group plans to be deployed two months, which is shorter than previous deployments in Air Force Reserve Command. This realignment is partially designed to improve operations by keeping maintenance and operations teams together both during the deployment and when training at home station.

While the deployment may be shorter, the 507th ARW will be deploying again with a large contingent of the wing deploying again in the summer of 2017. With operations in Southwest Asia continuing, support from the Air Reserve Component is vital according to wing leadership.

“I’m convinced tankers are the key to global reach, “Caughlin said. “If we don’t get there, fighters, bombers, and airlifters won’t get there without the tanker. We’ve got to get that gas to the warfighter.”