Airmen return from frontline

  • Published
  • By Staff Reports
  • 192nd Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing returned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, from a deployment to the Middle East on Oct. 9, 2018.

Active duty and Virginia Air National Guard Airmen were deployed 6-months as part of the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Their efforts enabled USAF F-22 Raptors to deliver air superiority during combat operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and the fight against enemy forces in Iraq and Syria.

This arrangement is possible due to the total-force integration of the 1st FW and 192nd WG and showcases the resulting efficiencies at Langley, as well as, the impact the VaANG has on the Combat Air Forces’ warfighting capabilities.

The Airmen were greeted by a large crowd of families and fellow service members. 1st FW Commander, Col. Jason T. Hinds, and 192nd WG Commander, Col. Frank J. Lobash, led a long receiving line where many thanks, high fives and welcome home sentiments were given to the returning Airmen. Many family members with signs waved and tried to catch the first glimpse of their Airman coming off the passenger plane parked on the flightline.

"It's great to have our 192d Airmen return from a highly successful deployment to the CENTCOM region after fighting the war on ISIS," said Lobash. "This group of Airmen brought forward the most experienced and talented F-22 maintainers and pilots in the world explaining the successful results. Alongside our 1st FW partners and all our 192d WG support Airmen at home, once again the VaANG showed the World what we bring to the fight. At Langley AFB, we face every challenge by first looking for the most efficient 'Total Force' solution and that approach consistently yields the incredibly successful results we see here. As a shining light for all to see, our successes should guide the greater Air Force to do the same as we face very complex and multi domain threats going forward."

During the deployment, the 94th EFS protected coalition ground forces operating within Syria by flying Defensive Counter Air missions against enemy air-to-ground capable fighter aircraft. The squadron also flew Offensive Counter Air missions deep into Syrian territory, facing both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missile systems, as the United States and Coalition forces launched deliberate attacks in response to the Syrian regime's illegal use of chemical weapons. On several occasions, the Raptors provided armed over watch for U.S. Navy aircraft as they transited through the Straits of Hormuz.

The 94th EFS flew more combat sorties and hours on a per aircraft basis than any deployed F-22 squadron ever. All told, the squadron logged over 590 sorties and more than 4,600 flight hours, dropping 4,250 pounds of ordnance and deterring 587 enemy aircraft. The squadron also accomplished the first-ever F-22 Raptor combat surge, which maximized combat sorties over a three-day period.

On their way home, the 94th EFS aircraft were diverted to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, where they will remain for a short-term deployment within the U.S. European Command area of operations. Personnel from the 27th Fighter Squadron and 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit as well as the VaANG’s 149th Fighter Squadron and 192nd Maintenance Group met the aircraft in England and, as part of the “Raptor Redeploy” mission, will accomplish local European training and engagements with NATO allies and partners.