February 9, 2017 (by SSgt. Victor J. Caputo) - Airmen and aircraft assigned to the 119th Fighter Squadron from the New Jersey Air National Guard began a deployment to Osan AB on February 5th.
Airmen assigned to the 177th AMXS from the New Jersey ANG guide F-16C block 30 #86-0349 assigned to the 119th FS at Osan AB on February 9th, 2017. The New Jersey Guardsmen are deployed to Osan at the request of Pacific Air Forces which utilizes Air National Guard units to help bolster the capabilities of allied forces in Korea. [USAF photo by SSgt. Victor J. Caputo]
The guardsmen, who are deployed from the 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, are filling a theater security package at the request of U.S. Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces, providing an opportunity to work with and train alongside active duty forces.
“In addition to the assigned PACAF
objectives, we expect to successfully integrate into the mission employment exercise and validate our ability to conduct combat operations off station commensurate with our active duty counterparts,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Crill, 119th FS
units are assigned to Osan to augment the base’s capabilities to project air power across the Korean Peninsula and strengthen the United States Forces Korea’s ability to deter regional threats while strengthening regional stability.
“Our brothers and sisters in the ANG
are invaluable to have over here at Osan,” said Col. Cary Culbertson, 51st Fighter Wing vice commander. “The skill and knowledge they have collected over their years of service offer our active duty Airmen, whether they’re aircrew or support, priceless advice on how to complete the task at hand.”
The skills and knowledge Culbertson refers to come from the 119th FS’ long history, dating back nearly 100 years to its activation in June 1917 as the 5th Aviation School Squadron. The unit has undergone a variety of designation changes and bounced back and forth between federal and state service after World War II before settling under the authority of the New Jersey ANG in 1969.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to command these citizen airmen who volunteer to serve, in a Drill Status Guardsman, Technician or Active Guard and Reserve status, on active duty in an AOR that has significant strategic importance,” said Crill. “I look forward to ensuring that our citizen airmen have the necessary resources to generate airpower in support of the defense of the United States and our allies.”