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The 77th EFS deploys to BAF, continues to support coalition forces, enable Afghan partners

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Gonsier
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Airmen and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of combat operations in Afghanistan Oct. 26, 2017.

Deployed out of the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, “The Gamblers” have an illustrious history of combating oppression and terrorism; from World War II, when they flew as a P-51 Mustang unit escorting heavies, to Operation Unified Protector in 2011, where they enforced the no-fly zone and provided protection to Libyan civilians.

The 77th EFS replaced the 555th EFS, out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, who delivered decisive airpower for the past six months.

“The number of strikes supporting ground forces in Afghanistan have increased over the last couple of months, reaching numbers not seen since 2012, and the airpower the 77th EFS brings to table will no doubt continue our goal of enabling our Afghan partners and fostering a safe and secure Afghanistan,” said Col Stephane Wolfgeher, 455th Expeditionary Operations Group commander. “In September of 2017, we increased our number of F-16s, leading to improved support of coalition force requirement and giving commanders more options in combating threats in the region. The 77th EFS will, no doubt, continue our great success in countering those who mean to do harm to the people of Afghanistan.”

The F-16 provides close-air-support and kinetic strikes, as well as overwatch for ground forces. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing also operates the MQ-9 Reaper, C-130J Super Hercules and E-11 airframes to fight terrorism in Afghanistan. The diverse fleet of aircraft allows the 455th AEW to meet a wide variety of ground force needs, including surveillance, reconnaissance, airlift, airdrop and communications support, which enables a successful train, advise and assist campaign.