News: Deployed Swamp Foxes reminded to remain vigilant
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - With the current AEF cycle more than half-way through, commanders with the South Carolina Air National Guard are recognizing deployed airmen for their accomplishments and stressing vigilance on the second half of the four-month deployment.
“With the AEF halfway point behind us it’s a good time to review what we’ve accomplished and what we’ll need to do to finish just as strong as we started,” said Lt. Col. Boris “Robo” Armstrong, 157th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. “Looking forward, it will be a balancing act preparing for the swap out and our return while executing the mission.”
Since taking over the Air Tasking Order here at KAF, the Swamp Foxes have flown more than 1,362 sorties, for roughly 5,700 hours meeting 100 percent of ATO tasking. The pilots have supported 884 Joint Tactical Air Requests, 257 Troops-In-Contact situations and 269 Priority Immediate tasks. JTARs are routine Close Air Support assignments that normally have the Swamp Fox pilots over watch friendly forces operating outside the wire. The unit’s pilots have dropped 84 bombs, shot 4380 rounds of 20mm, and executed 164 shows of force while the maintainers have accomplished 16 phase inspections, taking an average of only three days to complete each.
“A big thanks goes out to maintenance, munitions, weapons, AGE, and everyone contributing and working the long hours, many of them in the hot flight line, keeping the Swamp Fox machine running smoothly,” said Armstrong.
The unit is flying 20 lines per day instead of the 18 planned, providing more CAS to those who need it most.
Armstrong reminded the deployed airmen to stay focused and vigilant as the days wane and thoughts turn to home and redeployment.
“The silly season is just around the corner. It’s the time near the end of all deployments where we may be inclined to do something dumb, dangerous, or different with the resulting sadness that follows,” Armstrong said. “So keep up the good work, keep doing things smart, safe and the same.”
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 deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when they 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.