June 28, 2012 (by TSgt. Scott G. Herrington) - "Last week we received a deployment order tasking nearly 300 of our Bulldogs of the 148th Fighter Wing to go serve at Kandahar Air Field, in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," said 179th Fighter Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Chris Blomquist during a press conference at the 148th Fighter Wing June 28, 2012.
179th FS Block 50's first overseas deployment heading to Afghanistan
"This will be our first overseas deployment in our new block 50
F-16s and the first time our unit has deployed to Afghanistan."
The 148th Fighter Wing is scheduled to deploy it's aviation package -- aircraft and approximately 300 Guard members consisting of pilots, aircraft maintenance personnel, and support personnel in early August 2012 to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan for approximately two months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The Bulldogs have trained for this event for the past two years," said Blomquist. "I am confident that we will exceed the goals of the ground commanders in Afghanistan. In addition to the aviation package tasking, the 148th Fighter Wing will continue to deploy smaller groups of personnel in a variety of other career fields to southwest Asia in support of current operations."
The Block 50 F-16 conversion process was completed earlier in 2012, when the 148th became mission-capable and fully able to deploy with the newest model F-16 in the Air Force's inventory. In addition to deploying with new aircraft, the 148th will also perform its new Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) mission after months of intense training and evaluations.
"After two years mastering the Block 50 F-16 and the Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) mission, the Air Force has tasked our wing to deploy" said 148th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Frank Stokes. "The Bulldogs of the 148th are ready for this challenge and proud to serve our great country."
The Bulldogs previously deployed their aviation package to Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2008.