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GF base personnel stationed near Kyrgyzstan uprising

Personnel from Grand Forks Air Force Base are stationed at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, which is near the capital city of Bishkek where dozens of people were killed in an apparent take-over of the government.

Personnel from Grand Forks Air Force Base are stationed at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, which is near the capital city of Bishkek where dozens of people were killed in an apparent take-over of the government.

"We do have people over there," said Lt. Anastasia Wasem, public affairs officer at the Grand Forks Air Force Base today. "But as far as we know, they are not affected by this."

It's considered a key base in the war in Afghanistan, from which troops and supplies are launched.

It's also one of the main bases from which National Guard troops from North Dakota and Minnesota would make their last or first stop when entering or leaving Afghanistan.

A state Guard spokeswoman said Wednesday she didn't think any state troops were at the base.

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While military officials tell reporters operations at the base are running normally, they also say that the uprising in the Kyrgyzstan likely will interrupt temporarily the logistical flow of troops and material in and out of Afghanistan.

Officials at the Grand Forks base generally do not release details as to how many personnel or the exact missions for those deployed into areas in support of the global war on terror.

The only mission now at the base is the last squadron of about a dozen KC-135 mid-air re-fueling tankers, which is scheduled to be transferred from the base by the end of the year.

But whether it is tanker crews, or airmen on some other duty, such as public affairs officers helping in the overall mission at Manas, Wasem was not able to release.

But the Air Force is on it, she said.

"The military does have contingency plans in the event of something like this," she said.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com .

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