November 21, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Three more F-16s left from the North Dakota National Air Guard base in Fargo this morning... never to return.
A former 'Happy Hooligans' F-16 mothballed at AMARC
The jets are being retired and sent to AMARC
, commonly referred to as the boneyard near Tucson, Arizona where thousands of other retired planes and jets are stored.
So far, eight out of their total 22 block 15
jets have been sent to AMARC with several other examples already being stored there ending the USAF operations of the F-16 ADF variant.
Before the planes are sent to the boneyard, any sensitive equipment is removed and the name of a Happy Hooligan pilot is stenciled on the side of the cockpit for nostalgia.
Once being part of several F-16 units in the NORAD
air defense chain flying the F-16 ADF version, the 178th "Happy Hooligans" FS
is the last operational ANG
unit flying the block 15 F-16 ADF version.
The 2005 BRAC
decisions will turn the 119th into a transport unit now operating a couple C-21s and ultimately Predator UAVs as well as the Future Light Cargo Aircraft.
Some milestones achieved by the 119th FW:
- March 1990 - Converted from F-4Ds to block 15 F-16A/Bs. These Vipers were later converted to the ADF standard.
- October 1994 - Won the bi-annual "William Tell" air defense competition at Tyndall AFB, FL.
- September 1998 - Assumed the alert det. at Langley AFB, VA.
- March 1999 - Adopted a general purpose mission still flying the F-16ADFs and manning the alert det. at Langley AFB.
- September 11 2001 - Scramble of the three alert aircraft out of Langley AFB, VA and taking an active part in Operation "Noble Eagle"/homeland defense in the years to come.
- March 2006 - Conducting more than 70.000 accident free flying hours.