War on Terrorism

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MHAFB Airmen deploy in support of OEF

by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/23/2013 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho  -- Several hundred Airmen from the 366th Fighter Wing deployed April 23 to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Mountain Home Airmen will support F-15E overseas contingency missions designed to deliver combat air power for joint operations and to meet ground commander requirements.

"We are a part of a bigger team here as Gunfighters," said Lt. Col. Joel Myers, 389th Fighter Squadron commander. "Our mission is to send multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft air and ground crew to southwest Asia for combat operations, and to bolster cooperative training with our allies. This will enable the combatant commander to utilize the full range of our capabilities in any contingency that may arise as well as to continue to develop the important strategic relationships we have in the region."

Several months of training has been conducted in preparation for this specific mission and Airmen are ready to take on the challenge.

"I'm excited to go and serve my country," said 1st Lt. Henry Fortinberry, 389th FS weapon systems officer. "I've wanted to fly fighters for as long as I can remember and I've been training inside this jet for years. It's almost like I've been preparing for this deployment my whole life."

Myers agreed.

"We are prepared for a wide variety of missions," he said. "Throughout the last year, along with our maintenance team, our aviators have demonstrated repeated successes at exercises like Red Flag, Green Flag and other training events. I am confident our team has had a world-class spin-up and is ready to successfully execute our mission."

The deploying Gunfighters are not the only ones who have been preparing as spouses and children have been preparing to live without a family member during this deployment.

"I have a wonderful wife who will take up the mantle of running our household and raising our two children as a single parent while I am away," said Maj. Brian Robbins, 389th FS assistant director of operations. "She has had a ton of practice doing it as this is my seventh deployment. I think my youngest will probably have the hardest time with it as she does not yet understand why I leave for so long and what I am doing while I am gone. My oldest is a seasoned pro as this will be my fifth deployment in his short nine years."

According to Myers, his basic priorities deal with two areas: accomplishing the mission and taking care of people.

"We are focused on taking care of our entire team, to include our families that stay behind," he said. "It's a privilege to deploy and deliver combat airpower wherever and whenever called upon."

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