A combined force of active duty and Reserve airmen from Hill AFB, Utah, earlier this summer deployed the first complement of F-16 fighters to support operations in Afghanistan, according to a Sept. 20 commentary. Members of the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Air Force Reserve Command 419th FW—as a newly formed associate unit—deployed together for the first time in 2007 to Southwest Asia, but, as we learn now, to support operations in Iraq. Airmen of the two Utah fighter wings have been providing close air support, including supporting the Afghan Presidential election on Aug. 20. Capt. Chris Seamans, with the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, writes, “The war here is real and the men and women from Team Hill were not only ready for the challenge but set the standard for future units to maintain.”
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.