F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Shaw F-16s, people, join 4th Air Expeditionary Wing

March 17, 1997 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Six F-16 Falcons and 155 people from the 77th Fighter Squadron and 20th Fighter Wing joined the 4th Air Expeditionary Wing in Doha, Qatar.

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The deployment started Feb. 19 and was executed in less than 48 hours to this small country on the eastern coast of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. Shaw's F-16s flew 15 hours nonstop with 16 air refuelings from four Air Mobility Command tankers.

The majority of the deploying force arrived via two C-5 Galaxy and one C-141

Starlifter transports. All missions arrived safely in the AOR, but not necessarily at Doha where weather forced the F-16s to divert to Bahrain. The first challenge of the newly formed 4th AEW was to finish the deployment from Bahrain, an island just to the north of Qatar.

Within a few hours of the jets landing at Bahrain, a deployed C-130 Hercules transport plane loaded with equipment and personnel arrived. After an hour on the ground the C-130 and diverted F-16s flew to Doha. The deployed forces met their initial objective of flying combat sorties in support of Operation Southern Watch 12 hours later.