March 28, 2007 (by Stars and Stripes) - Misawa's deployed F-16 pilots got back into the fight last week in Iraq while supporting some major Army operations, reported Lt. Col. Chuck Toplikar, the 14th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander.
A Misawa pilot in F-16C block 50 #90-0808 gives a 'good to go' signal before taking off from Balad for a mission over Iraq on February 7th, 2007. Pilots often fly American flags over Iraq and sign a certification to present to Airmen. The 14th FS was the third expeditionary fighter squadron to stand up at Balad when the Misawa squadron deployed there in January. [USAF photo]
"We killed some bad guys, destroyed some anti-Iraq forces weapons caches, and found an anti-Iraq forces headquarters where the Army seized nearly 200 pieces of weaponry and improved explosive device-making material," Toplikar said in his latest telephone recording from Balad Air Base.
Toplikar also provided an update on renovations by Misawa's airmen to enhance their work and living quarters at Balad.
"Tons of mud and debris" have been cleared out of one facility, through which, at the outbreak of the war, the U.S. Air Force sent a 2,000-pound bomb. The hole also has been patched to keep out the rain, Toplikar said.
Plans for a "down day" are in the works, which "will give us a chance to relax for a little while, and refocus for the downhill side of our AEF
," he said in reference to the squadron's air expeditionary force deployment.
The more than 400 airmen deployed from Misawa are halfway through their deployment and are expected home sometime in May.