by Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons
125th Fighter Wing
5/29/2015 - Jacksonville Fla. -- The
125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, was the first stop on a
short tour of three U.S. military installations yesterday for NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg was greeted by Brig. Gen. James Eifert, Commander of the
Florida Air National Guard, Col. Brian Simpler, Commander of the 125th
Fighter Wing and Mayor of Jacksonville Alvin Brown, then given a
detailed brief about the role of the National Guard and the mission of
the Florida Air National Guard.
Col. Simpler explained the Quick Reaction Alert mission of securing the
skies of the southeastern United States by having Air Force F-15 Eagle
aircraft on standby to intercept and identify unknown aircraft or
objects penetrating U.S. sovereign airspace.
"With the F-15, we call it air dominance," he said. "Our job is to gain and maintain air superiority over the battlefield."
Col. Simpler also explained how the 125th FW is the first Air National
Guard unit to deploy in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which is a
demonstration of continued U.S. commitment to the collective security
of NATO allies. There are currently about 200 Airmen and 12 F-15
fighters deployed to Eastern Europe.
Stoltenberg was able to see an F-15 up close and speak to Airmen from
across the base. He stressed the importance of the mission both at home
and abroad and thanked the Airmen for their service.
"It has been a great visit because I have seen how the United States and
the Florida Guard are contributing to the security of Europe, North
America and trans-Atlantic cooperation," said Stoltenberg. "It has been
great to see and meet personnel here at the base and I am impressed by
the quality and professionalism of the people."
Stolteneberg later went on to tour Naval Station Kings Bay and Naval
Station Mayport for a look at other aspects of military missions before
heading back to Europe.
"He is here for less than 24 hours to see the entire U.S. military
components and we represent the conventional forces in that enterprise,"
Col. Simpler explained. "It has been a great honor."