S.C. Air National Guard deploys to South Korea

An F-16 with the S.C. Air National Guard
An F-16 with the S.C. Air National Guard

The S.C. Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing – The Swamp Foxes – have deployed to South Korea.

The wing – consisting of 12 F-16 fighter jets and support airmen – shipped last week to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, for the next several months in support of military security forces there, the Guard said in a press release.

The U.S. Air Force routinely deploys fighter aircraft to the region to support U.S. Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces, the release said. Called Theater Security Packages, the deployments have helped maintain a deterrent against threats to regional security and stability since 2004, it said.

“Our total force Swamp Fox team, comprised of traditional and full time Air Guard members with our active-duty associates, are fully trained and combat experienced to perform the most complex mission sets that may be required in this theater,” Col. Nick Gentile, the 169th Fighter Wing’s commander, said in a press release.

“As with our last (Pacific Theater) deployment in 2006, this deployment should also be an excellent opportunity for our unit to engage and train with our partner nations while providing our Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses expertise,” he said.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the S.C. Air National Guard has deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a Theater Security Package rotation to Japan in 2006. In June 2015, the unit traveled to Poland for a month of training alongside Polish air forces.

The S.C. Air Guard also was deployed in December of 1990 First Gulf War against the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. It flew a total of 1,729 combat sorties during Operation Desert Storm.