Joint Globetrotters

Within a 13-day period in November, Air Force E-8C JSTARS ground-surveillance airplanes flew in support of five US combatant commanders overseeing vast geographic regions spread across the globe, announced officials who operate these extremely-high-in-demand intelligence assets. “Flying this many operational missions in such a short time period is not the norm,” said Col. Dean Worley, commander of the 461st Air Control Wing at Robins AFB, Ga., in a Jan 7 base release. He added, “This combination can only be done with extremely well-trained operations and maintenance personnel.” Robins is home to the 16-aircraft JSTARS fleet, which the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th ACW operates together with the Active Duty 461st ACW. The November sorties supported homeland defense, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, according to the release. Prior to November, JSTARS aircraft logged more than 80,000 combat flight hours since 9/11 in support of operations in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, states the release. “As Team JSTARS continues to excel, combatant commanders around the globe have taken notice and recognized the value of the weapons platform,” noted Worley.