Despite the temperature extremes, wind, dust, and rocks associated with operating fighter aircraft out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, members of the 34th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit there on March 23 reached an impressive milestone. On that day, one of the F-16s for which they are responsible completed its 30th consecutive sortie over Afghanistan without the need for any maintenance actions to address a safety-of-flight issue or something else that would affect its readiness for the next mission. In Air Force parlance, that means that this F-16 (tail number 2119) has completed 30 missions at “code 1” status. “The maintainers for our squadron are doing an outstanding job for us out here,” said Lt. Col. Brad Lyons, 34th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. Added SSgt. Lucas Inboden, 34th EAMU crew chief for tail 2119: “It is a great feeling.” (Bagram report by SSgt. Richard Williams)
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.