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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Cannon F-16 squadron deploys for first time

January 25, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Cannon's 524th Fighter Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia Jan. 17 marking their first overseas deployment since transitioning from F-111s to F-16s in July 1996.
The squadron, deploying 20 F-16s and about 250 people, will don desert camouflage uniforms and call "tent city" their home for 45 days. Other 27th Fighter Wing people have also joined them in the desert for this deployment, scheduled to end at the beginning of March.

The deployed Cannon people will support Operation Southern Watch as part of the 4404th Wing (Provisional), which is the air component responsible for enforcing the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

Cannon's jets will join other Air Force F-16s, F-15s, EF-111s, KC-135s, KC-10s, RC-135s, E-3s, U-2s, C-130s, and C-21s. Together, these aircraft provide fighter, electronic combat, reconnaissance, command and control, air refueling, search and rescue, and transport capabilities.

"The 524th FS pilots have been training hard for this deployment since last summer. The maintainers have given their all to ensure our jets are ready for combat," said Lt. Col. Tom Breen, 524th FS operations officer. "We're all anxious to get on the road and do our part in Southwest Asia"

Master Sgt. John Ward, 524th Fighter Squadron production supervisor agreed that they are ready, but they had to put in extra hours getting the aircraft prepared for the deployment.

"The troops have been working 12-hour shifts for over a month," Ward said. "They're working hard and still going strong - they haven't slowed down a bit."

The 524th is one of four 27th Fighter Wing flying squadrons.