In this image released by the 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office on Saturday, personnel from McEntire Joint National Guard Base arrive at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan June 10 to begin the second half of the unit’s Air Expeditionary Force rotation in country. Members of the 169th Fighter Wing are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Swamp Fox F-16’s, pilots, and support personnel began their AEF deployment early April to take over flying missions for the air tasking order and provide close air support for troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
More than 100 members of the 169th arrived to swap out of Fighter Wing personnel deployed here.
According to the wing's public affairs office, the replacement personnel spent several days flying and stopped over briefly at a transit center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan for briefings and to receive extra gear. Despite the rigors of travel, there was no down time upon arrival.
The 169th Fighter Wing began its deployment in April with a dozen F-16ths and 400 personnel, from pilots to support staff.
“The good news is that all our members are arriving with all their training complete – not an easy task – and ready to perform the mission,” said Col. David Meyer, deputy operations group commander while deployed to Kandahar Airfield. “I greatly appreciate the sacrifice each member, and their family is making.”
Flying operations continue at home, as well as the wing's Aerospace Control Alert mission at McEntire.
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 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 deployed through August of this year.