KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — In the span of a month, two S.C. Air National Guard F-16 pilots have reached a milestone few aviators achieve. Col. David "Oscar" Meyer is the second pilot from the 169th Fighter Wing to reach 4,000 hours in the F-16 while deployed here supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Lt. Col. Scott “Cleetus” Bridgers hit 4,000 hours, June 7.
He achieved the aviation milestone while providing overwatch for troops in contact with enemy ground forces. Meyer recently joined the elite class of F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots to cross the 4000-hour flying threshold, stepping to his aircraft with 3998.2 hours in the seat of a Viper and landing with more than 4002 hours.
"I have been blessed to stay in the cockpit my entire career,” Meyer said of reaching this achievement.
Meyer first flew as a 12-year-old with a friend of his father and was hooked.
“I came down with a smile ear-to-ear and said, ‘That’s what I want to do Dad,’” Meyer said.
In the skies over Afghanistan protecting ground forces Meyer is still flying and according to F16.net, he is the 37th F-16 pilot in the world to reach this milestone. Meyer’s achievement also makes him the fourth South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 pilot to reach such a significant feat in his career.
A 1987 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he completed pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., and has flown more than 80 combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and twice in Operation Enduring Freedom. Meyer currently serves as the 169th Operations Group commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., and is the deputy operations group commander for the 451st Expeditionary Operations Group while deployed to Kandahar Airfield. He is a graduate of the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
In April the 169th Fighter Wing deployed more than a dozen F-16s and 400 personnel including pilots, maintenance specialists, and support staff to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. This is the wing’s largest deployment since Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and the fourth major deployment of its F-16s since 2002 when the Swamp Foxes deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when they flew more than 200 combat missions in the early days of the Afghan Campaign.
The wing also deployed in 2003 and 2010 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Swamp Foxes are currently deployed through August of this year to Kandahar Airfield.