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Ellsworth Airmen deploy to Southwest Asia

Airmen from a variety of squadrons unload from their bus at the new deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. on July 21, 2012, beginning their trek to Southwest Asia. Ellsworth aircrews will conduct B-1 missions designed to rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against adversaries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan/Released)

Airmen from a variety of squadrons unload from their bus at the new deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. on July 21, 2012, beginning their trek to Southwest Asia. Ellsworth aircrews will conduct B-1 missions designed to rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against adversaries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan/Released)

Staff Sgt. Charles Abt, 28th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of force management, briefs Airmen preparing to deploy to Southwest Asia in the new deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. on July 21, 2012. Approximately 350 Ellsworth Airmen deployed July 21, to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan/Released)

Staff Sgt. Charles Abt, 28th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of force management, briefs Airmen preparing to deploy to Southwest Asia in the new deployment center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. on July 21, 2012. Approximately 350 Ellsworth Airmen deployed July 21, to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hrair H. Palyan/Released)

Two Ellsworth Airmen share a laugh prior to boarding a plane on the flightline at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 21, 2012. Approximately 350 Airmen deployed to Southwest Asia July 21 to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

Two Ellsworth Airmen share a laugh prior to boarding a plane on the flightline at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 21, 2012. Approximately 350 Airmen deployed to Southwest Asia July 21 to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

Approximately 350 Airmen from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., file up the air stairs prior to departing on a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia, July 21, 2012. The Airmen will be supporting missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

Approximately 350 Airmen from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., file up the air stairs prior to departing on a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia, July 21, 2012. The Airmen will be supporting missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

Col. James Katrenak, 28th Maintenance Group commander, wishes deploying Airmen good luck as they prepare to board a plane on the flightline on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 21, 2012. Many of Katrenak's own Airmen, along with other Airmen in non-aviation roles, will be conducting a wide range of tasks to ensure the success of providing critical, long-range capability of B-1 aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

Col. James Katrenak, 28th Maintenance Group commander, wishes deploying Airmen good luck as they prepare to board a plane on the flightline on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., July 21, 2012. Many of Katrenak's own Airmen, along with other Airmen in non-aviation roles, will be conducting a wide range of tasks to ensure the success of providing critical, long-range capability of B-1 aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Ashley J. Cass/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Approximately 350 Airmen bid farewell to their families, friends and co-workers July 21, as they prepare to deploy to Southwest Asia to support missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Ellsworth Airmen will conduct B-1 missions designed to rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against adversaries. Airmen in non-aviation roles will be conducting a wide range of tasks to ensure the success of providing critical, long-range capability in that region of the world.

"The nature of our missions in Southwest Asia is very important," said Col. Gentry Boswell, 28th Bomb Wing vice commander. "We have a very clear focus to eliminate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda threats to our ground forces out there, and we take it seriously."

Boswell added that this deployment is the start of a yearlong commitment by Ellsworth to conduct vital operations in Southwest Asia. Between January 2011 and January 2012, Ellsworth B-1 aircrews from the 37th Bomb Squadron and 34th Bomb Squadron tallied an impressive 99.83 percent mission effectiveness rate, filling more than 3,000 Joint Tactical Air Requests while responding to 432 "Troops in Contact" situations and destroying 321 targets. Boswell anticipates that level of success will continue.

The colonel added that while Ellsworth Airmen are taking care of business in Southwest Asia, the base will be focused on supporting the families of those waiting at home.

"While our Airmen are out there supporting the fight on the ground, our job is to take care of their families and make sure they have everything they need," Boswell said.

Ellsworth has a variety of programs to support families of Airmen who deploy, including the Airmen and family Readiness Center and Ellsworth family advocacy.

This was the first real world deployment done in the base's new deployment center. The modern, $15 million dollar facility with many state-of-the-art processing functions is designed to conduct deployment operations more efficiently and effectively.

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