News: Natives of Des Moines fly planes over Afghanistan
Story by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Two natives of Des Moines, Iowa, recently deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
U.S. Air Force Maj.'s Chad Lewis and Greg Barasch, F-16C Fighting Falcon pilots with the 451st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed from the Iowa Air National Guard, are impacting the battlefield in a big way -- flying armed over-watch in support of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
"Every mission we fly here is important," said Lewis. "To be able to support ground forces our here ... well ... it's an important job, and one I love to do."
While deployed, service members often try to relax on their rare days off of work. For these two pilots, it's the complete opposite.
"Flying is my vise," said Barasch. "Being in the air is where I'm most comfortable. We prefer not to have a day off. To us, flying is our day off."
The service members from Des Moines are part of history out here -- the first F-16 squadron to be stationed at Kandahar.
"I truly believe we have some of the best, smartest pilots the Air Force has to offer, right here in this very unit," said Lt. Col Travis Acheson, 451st EFS commander. "Our pilots are keeping the folks on the ground safe, and making the enemy scared to pop their heads up."