May 19, 2008 (by TSgt. Adrianne Wilson) - 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard responded to their 2000th scramble since Sept. 11, 2001 on May 6.
Tail detail of USAF F-16D block 30 #85-1509 with markings of the 113th FW. [Photo by Jake Melampy
"Although the D.C. Air National Guard did not have an alert mission before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, they have established themselves as both the busiest and best alert unit in the nation," said Lt. Col. David Miles, 121st Fighter Squadron Air Sovereignty Alert Detachment commander.
Since assuming the role of defending the Nation's Capital against any and all potential airborne threats, the Air Sovereignty Alert Detachment has averaged more than one response per day while maintaining a perfect safety record, said Colonel Miles.
"Thankfully, as has been the case in most of the preceding 1999 events, this one, as well as numbers 2001 and 2002 that followed later that same day, were resolved before the jets became airborne," he said.
This is not always the case however, and the men and women sitting alert realize they can never let their guard down. In March alone, the unit's F-16C aircrafts intercepted and escorted three unidentified aircraft out of the restricted zone around Washington, D.C.
"We take our mission very seriously," said Colonel Miles. "We have a great group of extremely dedicated pilots, controllers and maintenance personnel that are on the job 24/7 ensuring the safety of the National Capital Region, which happens to be our home as well."
Awarded the highest available rating of "Outstanding" on their most recent NORAD
inspection, the D.C. Air National Guard continues to set the standard and live up to their moniker as the "Capital Guardians."