Air National Guard airmen from Alabama, Illinois, and Wisconsin currently make up the Tiger aircraft maintenance unit at Balad AB, Iraq, where they maintain F-16s of the 332nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. More than half of these airmen are full-time Guardsmen, reports the Red Tail Flyer. That means many of them have worked together for years, 30 years in some cases. Others are new and are getting “more intense” experience than was possible during technical training, says SrA. Joshua Harrison from Alabama. The Tiger AMU has “fixed or inspected the jets twice as much as they would in the states,” according to the Flyer.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.