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555 EFS Falcons leave the nest

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Charles
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

Throughout the past six months, members of the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and its F-16 Fighting Falcons have been providing key operational support in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

While deployed to the region from Aviano, Italy, the unit had the opportunity to join the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The austere conditions of PSAB presented unique challenges, which the Airmen assigned to the squadron were able overcome in part due to their dedication and steadfast focus according to Lt. Col. Diers, 555 EFS commander.

“Despite these challenges associated with establishing a warfighting footprint in a new location, our Airmen were able to hit the ground running,” Diers said.

Prior to arriving at PSAB, the Triple Nickle was deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar. They were later forward deployed to KSA by the Secretary of Defense in order to increase the operational depth in the region. They replaced the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, who redeployed their units and F-15E Strike Eagles back to their home station, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, earlier in the year.

“We were able to build upon the successes of the Black Panthers,” said Diers. “During their time at PSAB they were able to instill a lot of practices that were key to easing our transition to the installation.”

During their deployment, the squadron generated more than 1,200 sorties, totaling upward of 7,000 combat flight hours in close air support, defensive counter air support and air interdiction to support regional operations.

The deployment of the Triple Nickle may be coming to an end, but its members have set a new standard for the units stepping in to pick up where they left off.