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Hooligans F-16 ADFs mothballed

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 F-16 ADF 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.

Thanks to Henrik

Additional images:

USAF F-16A ADF #81-0777 from the 178th FS piloted by Maj. Michael DePree takes off on a practice air defense scramble mission from Langley AFB, the same location from which F-16s were launched during the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Today's practice scramble brought the North Dakota Air National Guard past 70,000 hours of accident-free F-16 fighter operations. [Photo by SMSgt David Lipp]

Lt Col Dana S, Mullenhour, assigned to the 178th FS, North Dakota ANG receives a water salute, as she taxies F-16A ADF #82-1006 onto the flight line at Fargo, ND, following a record setting mission. The Unit has surpassed the 60,000 accident-free flying hours mark in the aircraft overall, and has amassed over 132,400 hours without a Class A mishap, covering more than 30 years. [USAF photo by SMSgt David H. Lipp]

Two USAF F-16A ADF with #82992 in the foreground and #82006 in the background, both from the North Dakota Air National GuardÂ’s 178th Fighter Squadron fly in formation November 17th, 2001 during a combat air patrol mission over Washington in support of Operation Noble Eagle. North American Aerospace Defense Command had more than 100 ANG and Air Force Reserve fighters from 26 locations providing homeland defense, with 100 additional fighters backing them up. Additionally, more than 20 ANG and AFRES tankers are airborne every day to keep fighters refueled. [USAF photo by SSgt. Greg L. Davis]