- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - About 300 members of a Fort Wayne-based Indiana Air National Guard unit will deploy to the Middle East for six months beginning next month.

The 122nd Fighter Wing says the deployment to the U.S. Central Command region involves about a third of its force.

The deployment isn’t linked to President Barack Obama’s plan to confront the militant Islamic State extremists who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria. Wing spokesman 2nd Lt. Christopher Myers says the deployment has been in the works for more than a year and involves serving in a support role.

Wing commander Col. Patrick Renwick says those going on the deployment have undergone additional cultural awareness and weapons training.

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