Images: 169th Fighter Wing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq [Image 20 of 20]
Staff Sgt. Chris Nelson with the 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, cleans the canopy of an F-16 Fighting Falcon after a dust storm at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, June 8. Members of the 162nd FW and other units deployed to JBB with the 169th Fighter Wing from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., to cover an Air Expeditionary Force deployment utilizing Block 52 and Block 30 F-16’s. The 169th FW at McEntire sent F-16’s, pilots, maintenance specialists and support personnel overseas for its first major combat operation since 2003, when the unit deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and flew more than 400 combat missions. The 169th FW is now an "Active Associate" wing. This unique agreement with the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB Base embeds 150 active duty Airmen with the 169th FW at McEntire to forge an even stronger, more mobile force. Elements of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th FW began this historic deployment in early May 2010 when airmen landed at JBB in support of OIF.