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Tigers take roar downrange

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 79th Fighter Squadron deployed aircraft and service members to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in October.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is the U.S. mission aimed at counterinsurgency operations and supporting NATO's mission in Afghanistan, Resolute Support. Resolute Support's mission is to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.

“This is what we prepare for every day,” said Col. Daniel Lasica, 20th Fighter Wing commander. “In the past, the 20th FW has repeatedly proved its combat readiness. I have no doubts in the capabilities of Team Shaw Airmen to complete the mission and exceed all expectations while doing so.”

The 79th FS, also known as the “Tigers,” can be traced back to February 1918 when it was first known as the 79th Aero Squadron. Since then, the squadron has played a role in several missions to include Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Fox.

Since 1994, the 79th FS has flown F-16CM Fighting Falcons a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft that engage in both air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attacks.

The Fighting Falcon wouldn’t be able to support these operations without Airmen working as a team to track, maintain and operate the F-16s.

“Deploying as a unit is nice because you know everybody there, and you build camaraderie,” said Maj. Michael Watts, 20th Operations Group standards and evaluations chief.

During a deployment, a unit is closed off from outside influences allowing them to focus on working together and flying together, toward a common goal and mission, Watts added.