Over the past week, aircraft and Airmen assigned to the District of Columbia Air National Guard’s 113th Wing arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to join the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing as it provides combat power projection across the region in defense of U.S. forces. The wing sent a contingent of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons to reinforce PSAB’s defensive capabilities, provide operational depth, and support U.S. Central Command operations.
The 113th Wing, known as the “Capital Guardians”, is stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. If activated to federal service, the fighter portion of the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force’s Air Combat Command, while the airlift portion is gained by Air Mobility Command. The 113th Wing is the nation’s only federal National Guard unit and provide domestic operation capabilities in support of the District of Columbia.
“We bring a range of capabilities uniquely suited to the AFCENT mission as the nation’s premier homeland defense unit, as well as deep experience in air-to-ground integration. We are motivated to perform the mission and showcase the unique strengths of the Air National Guard. This unit is no stranger to 24/7 operations,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Wilson, 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander.
“Our Wing has a fairly unique mission. Even at home station we provide an unrivaled 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert force to protect the Capital region and the Eastern seaboard. This requires us to keep our jets ready to go at a moment’s notice to defend our nation’s skies, building a foundation of care and competence that we plan to continue here,” said Maj. Jaresha Obey, 121st Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron commander.
The 113th Wing brought maintenance and support personnel from across the nation to support operations, with Air National Guard members from more than 30 states supporting the District of Columbia ANG deployment.The 113th’s primary mission is training of air combat and operational airlift crews for national defense. The 113th also provides a ready response force of fighters for the defense of the District of Columbia area.
On 11 September 2001, the wing was given authorization for its pilots to shoot down threatening aircraft over Washington DC. After the events of 11 September 2001 the squadron took on an Air Sovereignty Alert Detachment role, stationing a number of aircraft at air force bases around the country. The 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has been formed and deployed numerous times as part of the Global War on Terrorism.