CONTACT: Lt. Greta Lewis at (315) 233-2651 or Lt Col Timpano at (315) 233-2139.
FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008
174th Fighter Wing Begins Saying Goodbye To F-16 Jets
Air National Guard Unit Slated to Operate Reaper Drones
SYRACUSE, NY (10/14/2008)-- The New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing said goodbye to two F-16 fighter jets as they left Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, today, to go off to their new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as the unit began its transition to a new mission flying unmanned aircraft. "It is a bittersweet day for the 174th Fighter Wing. We are sad to see the first departures of the F-16 fighter jets that we have loved flying for the past 19 years, but are excited to open a new chapter of combat aviation with the coming MQ-9 Reaper mission, said Col. Charles Dorsey, the wing's vice commander. The takeoff of these two jets is the first significant step towards the 174th Fighter Wing's changeover to the new MQ-9 Reaper mission, Dorsey said. The Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle, similar to the Predator in use in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While the Reaper is capable of gathering intelligence, and conducting surveillance and reconnaissance like the Predator, it also capable of attacking targets in a hunter-killer mode. The transition from flying manned F-16Cs to operating the MQ-9 is expected to take 18 months. More aircraft will depart the base as the transition goes forward. The 174th has operated the F-16C since 1988. Fighters from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base flew missions during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and this summer provided air cover for troops in Iraq. BACKGROUND: The 174th Fighter Wing, New York Air National Guard: The 174th Fighter Wing deployed F-16C fighter jets to Southwest Asia in June of this year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Wing recently deployed more than 190 personnel as part of an aviation package. The full 174th aviation package included support personnel and aircraft that as part of the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) cycle 3-4. The 174th FW was formed on October 28, 1947 as the 138th Fighter Squadron. The 138th FS was the first post-WWII Air National Guard flying unit in New York State. The unit flew P-47D Thunderbolts and was based at the former Army Air Force facilities at Hancock Field. The 174th FW's federal mission is to provide combat ready personnel, aircraft, and equipment for worldwide deployment. To deter, or attack and destroy, enemy surface and airborne forces, in support of joint operations. PHOTOS: 081014-F-8599C-150 The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California. This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission. 081014-F-8599C-151 The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California. This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission. Photos by Tech Sgt. Jeremy Call, 174th Fighters Wing (Released) If you have any other questions, please contact Lt. Greta Lewis at (315) 233-2651 or Lt Col Timpano at (315) 233-2139.NYS DMNA Press Release:174th Fighter Wing Begins Saying Goodbye To F-16 Jets
Page Last Modified: Oct 14, 2008