Last Viper from Syracuse

T?he New York National Guard recently inaugurated a combat-veteran F-16A, now on display outside the state’s Guard joint forces headquarters in Latham, N. Y. The former 174th Fighter Wing jet, serial number 80-0504, flew combat in Operation Desert Storm, as one of only two ANG F-16 units flying close air support, according to a release. The aircraft is displayed alongside an Army National Guard AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter and M-1A1 Abrams tank. “Now it’s going to sit on display where people can see it every day and it serves as a signature symbol of the Air National Guard here at the headquarters,” said CMSgt. Mark Shearer. The “Boys from Syracuse” flew their last F-16 sortie from Hancock Field in March 2010, when the wing became the 174th Attack Wing and converted to MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. The unit retained the airframe as a weapons-load trainer even after upgrading to the F-16C in the early 1990s.