Nighthawks Home After Combat In Iraq
Five F-117 Nighthawks touched down here April 16
after supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
The tremendous support of the base and Alamogordo community
provided the returning airmen with an outstanding homecoming, said
Lt. Col. J.L. Briggs, an F-117 pilot returning from his seventh
deployment to Southwest Asia. He said it was great to be part of a
mission that was an asset in the combat zone.
"When the crew received orders, they knew what they had to do to
accomplish the objective of disarming and removing the Iraqi
regime," Briggs said. "Every unit was well trained for the job and
ready to go. Even though each unit is trained individually, during
combat operations, every element cohesively joins to become one
I'd Like To Thank My Crew Chief, My Ordnance Officer, My Fuel
Pilots are a very visible tip of the iceberg during combat
operations, but without people from maintenance support,
intelligence, services, supply, security forces and all other
elements, the jets would not leave the ground, he said.
"Pilots fly the jet and execute a mission that's based on an
overwhelming amount of effort," Briggs said. "A lot of support goes
unnoticed because people see pilots dropping bombs, but they don't
see the hours of labor that it takes to get the mission going."
The Holloman support troops and F-117s played an important role
in Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to Briggs.
The F-117s were the first aircraft to drop bombs in Baghdad on
March 19. They flew more than 80 missions and dropped nearly 100
Enhanced Guided Bomb Units, EGBU-27s.
The Nighthawks also supported Operation Desert Storm in 1991,
but enhanced weapons systems on current models allowed the jet to
be even more lethal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Briggs
Tough On Those Back Home
While airmen are deployed, many spouses assume the
role of single parent and manage the household. At the same time,
in the back of their minds, they have an inevitable concern for the
safety and welfare of their loved one in the combat zone, Briggs
"Many families accept the role, which is one of the toughest in
the Air Force," he said. "These families take on a tough mission
that they keep going day after day. The Air Force offers a number
of programs to support troops and their families, but Holloman and
the Alamogordo community raise the bar. Our team is grateful for
the outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers from the generous
hearts of these communities."
(Thanks to the staff of Air Combat Command News