Aerial shot of USAF F-16C block 30 #85-1436
from the 119th FS as seen on August 1st, 2008.
In July of 1988 the squadron started receiving their first F-16s. These were of the block 15 type, replacing the venerable F-106 in the air defense role. Since this was the primary role of the unit, it was decided to upgrade these airframes with the Air Defense Fighter (ADF) option. This featured the addition of a CWI module on the APG-66 radar, a search light on the port side of the nose, more adapted communication equipment, an Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) system and the possibility to fire AIM-7 or the later AIM-120 missiles. The upgrade happened in November of 1990. To that date the unit also flew some F-106s aside the F-16. The 119th FS was the last USAF unit to withdraw the F-106 from operational duty.
In 1994 the squadron started trading in their ADF version of the viper for the more advanced block 25 version. The ADF A/B models were being retired and sent to the boneyard at AMARG, only flying for a mere 4 years in that configuration with still a lot of hours left on those airframes.
USAF F-16C block 30 #85-1474
from the 119th FS in Atlantic City New Jersey, takes off on the first mission for Exercise Red Flag Alaska 11-2 on July 12th, 2011.
As a result of the attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001 the 119th FS found itself in a key position. Located between New York and Washington DC, the 119th was immediately tasked with providing combat air patrols over cities in its region. In fact three aircraft were scrambled to intercept the aircraft that impacted the pentagon, but were too late. They were then vectored to intercept flight 93 which eventually crashed in Pennsylvania. Although these three pilots did not know it at the time they would have been given authorization to down the airliners once intercepted. Following the attacks on that fateful day, the 119th FS began flying missions for Operation Noble Eagle. On July 12th, 2002 the squadron flew it's 1000 mission for Operation Nobel Eagle. From that year they also started to contribute in other overseas contingency operations.
In September of 2007 the first USAF F-16Cs to be retired to AMARG were from the 119th FS who sent two to the desert boneyard. In replacement for the ageing block 25s were the not much newer block 30s. During this transition the mission of the squadron remained. This being a double task as an air defense squadron in the northern section of the US and as a multirole squadron to carry out contingency operations abroad.