JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Active duty and Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 94th Fighter Squadron and 149th Fighter Squadron returned Oct. 8, 2015, to Langley Air Force Base, Va., after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Approximately 200 members of the 1st Fighter Wing and 192nd Fighter Wing, operating the F-22 Raptor, were assigned to United States Central Command as part of a theater security package, providing support and stability to the region.
“We’re incredibly proud of our Airmen and the work they did over the course of this six-month operational deployment, but it’s great to have them home,” said Col. Pete Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the entire 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings together, and we plan to celebrate this rare occasion.”
The Airmen were deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve where U.S. and coalition forces are conducting targeted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as part of the comprehensive strategy to degrade the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. The 94th and 149th Fighter Squadrons were accompanied by additional support personnel from Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd FW and the 633rd Air Base Wing.
“This deployment was a success not only because of the incredible efforts of the Airmen from the 149th FS and 27th FS, but many others who supported them, ” said Col. Bob Grey, 192nd FW commander. “Some of those unsung heroes include the 192nd Supply Chain Management Squadron, integrated with the 735th Supply Chain Operations Group, who ensured critical aircraft parts made it to the F-22 maintainers in theater, and the Airmen from the 192nd Intelligence Squadron, partnered with the 497th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, who provided vital pre- and post-mission analysis. This team effort was essential to mission success and demonstrated the unique, full-spectrum capabilities of the 192nd FW.”
The 149th FS traces its heritage to the 328th FS, a P-51 unit based at Royal Air Force Bodney, England, during World War II. Commanded by the leading P-51 ace of the war, Maj. George Preddy, the Blue Nose Bastards of Bodney would be decommissioned at the close of the war and then reinstated in 1947 as the 149th Fighter Squadron based in Richmond, Virginia. Mobilized for the Cuban Missile Crisis and 9/11, the 149th FS moved to Langley AFB and transitioned to the F-22 in 2007 as part of a Total Force Integration with the 1st Fighter Wing.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible job our Airmen have done over the past six months,” said Col. Pat McAtee, 192nd Operations Group commander. “It’s a great feeling to finally welcome them home!”
Also known as the “Hat in the Ring Gang,” the 94th FS is the second oldest active fighter squadron in the United States, tracing its origin back to the dawn of military aviation over the trenches of World War I.
Langley AFB’s three fighter squadrons operate the F-22 Raptor. The F-22 Raptor, America’s premier air dominance fighter, protects U.S. and allied forces by engaging and destroying enemy forces, equipment and defenses in the air or on the ground.
The federal mission of the 192nd Fighter Wing is to maintain the highest possible degree of combat readiness in order to be an effective combat unit to the U.S. Air Force upon mobilization to federal active duty. Airmen in the 192nd will execute directed tactical fighter missions designed to destroy enemy military forces, supplies, equipment, communications systems and installations. The 192nd Fighter Wing currently flies and maintains the F-22A Raptor in the 149th Fighter Squadron.
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Story courtesy 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs with additional reporting by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office