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."
"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."