The U.S. Air Combat Command announced the deployment of a contingent of 27th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptors, and Airmen assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
Under the direction of the Secretary of Defense, the Raptors’ mission will be to assist the UAE, one of the United States’ long-standing strategic partners, amid a series of recent attacks.
“This team of ready Airmen, ready aircraft, and ready logistics are always prepared to support our combatant commanders downrange,” said U.S. Air Force Col. William Creeden, 1st FW commander. “With the vital support of the 192d Wing and the 633d Air Base Wing, we were able to provide short-notice air superiority to U.S. Central Command.”
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As the host wing, the 633d ABW provides installation support to the 1st FW and 192d Wing, and together they deliver air power and expeditionary Airmen around the globe.
“JBLE remains one of the nation’s premier power projection platforms,” said Col. Gregory Beaulieu, JBLE installation commander. “We are one team with the same end game–deliver combat airpower anytime, anywhere. And that’s exactly what we accomplished.”
With a mission that can take them anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, JBLE Airmen maximize readiness throughout the year through training that replicates real-world scenarios. This mentality and ‘muscle memory’ ensures a ready force.
“We’ve been given a superb weapon system,” Creeden said. “But it’s the training, focus, and discipline of our Airmen that make it the most capable.”
Among that team of disciplined individuals are the citizen Airmen of the 192d Wing, who provide combat-ready personnel and equipment to support United States’ national security objectives when mobilized.
“Our Airmen couldn’t do this without the unwavering support of their families and our community,” said Col. Christopher Batterton, 192d Wing commander. “This is truly a total team effort and integral to our partnership with the 1st FW and 633d ABW.”
Creeden credits the Airmen and their ready mindset with allowing the wing to overcome the challenges of the large force movement.
“Anytime you need to move a force in a short amount of time, it requires a lot of coordination, communication, and teamwork,” Creeden said. “But it’s not a challenge when you have the team of professionals we do at JBLE.”
This includes the 633d Medical Group, who despite the ongoing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, were able to surge to ensure all Airmen met international testing requirements, to include a demanding testing protocol, and were cleared to deploy.
Beaulieu echoed the sentiment of a total force effort, “From the air traffic controllers and crew chiefs with the 1st FW and 192d Wing, to the aerial porters and medics from the 633d ABW, every single person played a pivotal role in this deployment. Getting the 27th FS out the door this week was one of the best examples of integration between the three wings that we’ve ever seen.”
As Air Combat Command’s sole F-22 combat wing, the 1st FW stays postured to achieve their purpose of air superiority, with an ‘adapt and win’ mindset.
“The Raptor is the most dominant air superiority air-to-air fighter in the world,” said Creeden. “However, its critical advantage rests solely with the Airmen who fly, fix, arm, sustain and enable it.”
The Raptor’s last deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility region was from June, 2019-February, 2020.