About 300 airmen returned Oct. 12 to Spangdahlem, AB, Germany, from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The April 7 deployment of F-16s and airmen from the 480th Fighter Squadron was the squadron’s first in support of OIR, according to a 52nd Fighter Wing release. During the deployment, the maintenance team generated more sorties than any previous F-16 squadron, and on Sept. 16, the squadron, aided by the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Group, dropped the 1,900th precision-guided munition, exceeding the highest amount delivered by any F-16 unit in a six-month period. “It is an incredible testimony to the quality of our daily Air Force training that they were able to step in and execute at such a high level for six months,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Murphy, 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, according to the release. A1C Nathaniel McDavitt, an F-16 tactical aircraft maintainer from the 52nd Maintenance Squadron at Spangdahlem, died early in the deployment, on April 15, when the the building he was working in was damaged by extreme winds. Murphy said the unit’s accomplishments “honored his memory in the absolute best way they possibly could,” according to the release.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.