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​A NATO AWACS lines up with an Iowa Air National Guard KC-135 aircraft for refueling training over northern Germany Feb. 14, 2017. Air Force photo by SSgt. Daniel Ter Haar.

​About 40 Air National Guard members from the 185th Air Refueling Wing based in Sioux City, Iowa, deployed to NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany, in February to support the NATO AWACS mission. NATO AWACS E-3A aircraft fly airborne command and control missions for counter-ISIS operations over Iraq and Syria, Eastern European surveillance, and Mediterranean maritime operations. The 185th ARW group is one component of a rotating ANG force that supports the NATO mission with refueling flights. “This has always been a very successful partnership,” said Royal Netherlands Air Force Capt. Andre Bongers, a Geilenkirchen spokesman, according to a press release. “During 40 weeks per year the Air Guard provides essential training to the NATO E-3A component. This is vital because pilots at the E-3A component normally stay around for only four years.” The Iowa ANG group will complete their tour at the end of the week and will be succeeded by members of an ANG unit from Topeka, Kan.