PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local airmen are playing a role in the military efforts in Libya.

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing have been deployed as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn. Their mission is to help maintain the no-fly zone over Libya.

“We are enablers. We allow airframes, bombers, fighters, strategic airlift to loiter and stay aloft for much longer than they normally would,” Col. Steven Painter, deputy commander, said.

The news came so quickly, some barely had time to say goodbye to their families.

“Literally within hours, we were notifying individuals and we were on board our first aircraft and we were airborne,” Painter said.

It’s unclear how long members of the 171st will be in Libya or if more local service members will be deployed.

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