Images: Operation Iraqi Freedom [Image 19 of 20]
Photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson
Senior Airman Jesse Pointer, a crew chief with the 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., 169th Fighter Wing, marshal’s Capt. Michael “Meat” Willhide, F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter pilot with the 157th Fighter Squadron at McEntire, into a hardened aircraft shelter on June 6, after Willhide returned from flying an alert mission. 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 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.