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122nd Fighter Wing returns from Qatar

September 12, 2004 (by Lieven Dewitte) - September 11th was a special day for members of the 122nd Fighter Wing, who returned to Fort Wayne, Indiana after being stationed in Qatar for over a month.

USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1264 from 163 FS, based at Fort Wayne AFB, home to the Indiana ANG, seen here on February 14th, 2003 at Davis-Monthan AFB during 'Snowbird Winter II'. [Photo by Wally Van Winkle]

A total of 275 troops were deployed to the Middle East in early August. Their mission was to give air support to Army and Marine ground troops. For the 122nd, it was a relatively short tour of duty - just over a month.

Most of the unit was stationed in Qatar, maintaining F-16 aircraft, others were flying them over combat zones.

When the Army's on the ground was doing their mission, they were flying over, doing a lot of surveillance work, making sure that the units on the ground are safe.

Lt. Lauri Turpin, 122nd spokesperson, said the unit will be deployed again, but it's too early to say when, or for how long.

The Wing received its first four F-16C block25s on 17 July 1991 from Hahn Air Base, Germany. After that, twenty additional aircraft were received: twelve more from Hahn, seven from Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and one from McConnell AFB, Kansas. In the Fall of 1992, the 122nd FW completed its conversion to the General Dynamics F-16C/D aircraft and finalized acceptance of the new Pratt & Whitney 220E engine.

They successfully completed their first overseas deployment with the F-16C in February 1993. The exercise, "Coronet Avenger," took place in Egypt, and served as a training exercise, testing the capability of the unit to deploy and operate at an overseas location.