Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tyndall completes first combat deployment

by Senior Airman Alex Echols
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/14/2015 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- The 95th Fighter Squadron recently returned after making history completing the first Tyndall and F-22 Raptor combat deployment.

"The complete success of our first-ever combat deployment proves once again the Airmen of Team Tyndall get the mission done," said Col. Derek C. France, 325th Fighter Wing commander. "We're really proud of everyone that went downrange and very happy to have them back. They did a fantastic job and made Tyndall proud from start to finish."

More than 200 Airmen deployed from the 95th FS, the 325th Operation Support Squadron, the 325th Maintenance Squadron, the 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and other offices. Six F-22s and approximately 230 short tons of cargo accompanied the Airmen.

"Overall it was great," said Lt. Col. Ronald E. Gilbert, 95th FS commander. "I was really proud of our folks and happy with their attitudes and the way they approached business. People kept the positive motivation moving forward and worked around the clock to ensure combat operations were uninterrupted. I think we represented Team Tyndall well."

The six month deployment to Southeast Asia began last September and concluded in April but preparation started months in advance and wrap-up still continues. This being Tyndall's first deployment, many processes and systems including an entire squadron needed to be created to ensure mission success.

"Before the transition to Air Combat Command in October 2012, Tyndall never really prepared to go to combat," said Gilbert. "The base didn't have the training, infrastructure, logistics or mobility in place to make it possible to deploy. So for two years, we prepared, moved folks here and stood up offices and squadrons to get ready. A lot of initial obstacles and challenges were overcome, and success was greatly achieved downrange once we were able to get there."

The deployment also marked the first time an F-22 squadron deployed to combat.

"The aircraft was outstanding," said Gilbert. "Best airplane to be in combat, no question."

The 95th FS was reactivated in Oct. 11, 2013 and since then it has received 24 F-22's, making Tyndall the largest contingent of 5th generation aircraft in the world.

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