Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A large wave of men and women from the 148th Fighter Wing are on their way to Afghanistan for a two month deployment. About 150 members said tearful goodbyes Tuesday night at the base during a send-off event. The unit will deploy to Kandahar Airfield in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This mission will be the first time the 148th uses its Block 50 F16 jets while deployed. "They are going to be doing close air support is what our primary function is," said Maj. Audra Flanagan. "We'll be protecting ground forces who might be in combat or feels they need support from F16 aircraft." Approximately 60 personnel departed prior to Tuesday's send-off. A total of 300 members of the 148th will be on the ground in Afghanistan. The 148th Fighter Wing is the Duluth-based Air National Guard unit with just over 1,000 members, of which, 450 are full time. The Northland's NewsCenter's Kevin Jacobsen will have more on the deployment and the network of support for the families left behind Wednesday on the KBJR 6 & Range 11 News at Five and the KDLH 3 News at 5:30. Kevin Jacobsen Bio - Facebook - Twitter - E-Mail