MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Dozens of airmen from the 35th Fighter Wing are on their way to Southwest Asia to support the global war on terrorism.

The supply, civil engineering and fuels troops are deploying as part of a scheduled Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation cycle. The current round represents AEF 3 and 4.

About 50 airmen left Wednesday on a DC-10 airliner from Misawa, said base spokesman 1st Lt. James Lage, noting they were the last of the AEF troops to deploy.

“The window for people leaving in AEF 3 and 4 is December 15 to January 15,” he said.

Lage said that tsunami-relief efforts did not change the number of troops Misawa diverted to the war on terrorism. The 35th Fighter Wing last week sent more than 20 people to South Asia to help rebuild countries devastated by the Dec. 26 tidal waves.

Misawa airmen will be deployed to Southwest Asia for about 120 days. That’s about a month longer than typical: Deployment lengths for most airmen were increased from 90 days to 120 this summer. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper made the policy change to meet the greater demands on the service since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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