Approximately 250 Airmen of the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing have deployed to the Republic of Korea as part of a Theater Security Package. In addition to training for the unit itself, the “Lobos” will have the opportunity to integrate with other U.S. forces in the region and the RoKAF.
During a mobilization ceremony in Sioux Falls on 3 May, U.S. Senator John Thune spoke to the airmen getting ready to deploy as well as their families, expressing his gratitude.
“To the families that are here today, we want to say thank you,” Senator Thune shared. “You also pay a great price and are part of the cost of freedom that all of us as a country have to pay.”
As National Guardsmen flying the Block 40 Lockheed-Martin F-16CM, the 175th Fighter Squadron will be conducting its “away game,” the Federal portion of the unit’s charter stipulating they can be called upon to deploy worldwide in support of national security interests.
Colonel Russ Walz, 114 FW commander, stated during the ceremony, “Our mission is to support our nation’s continued commitment to regional stability and security around the world.”
FighterSweep had the opportunity to spend some time with the 114th as they spun up for their deployment during Red Flag 15-1 in February of this year. According to the squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Sheridan, the unit’s pilots and aircraft performed very well, flying 160 sorties for a total of 235 flying hours, and expended 75 munitions. In fact, the maintenance personnel from the 114th took home the Outstanding Maintenance Unit award from the exercise, the top performers out of twenty-two different commands taking part.
We wish the Lobos the very best during their deployment and look forward to their safe return in the fall!
(Featured Photo by Scott Wolff)