Raptors To Patrol Skies Near DC
The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing at Langley
AFB is the first Air Guard unit to fly the F-22 Raptor in support
of Operation Noble Eagle, established by President George W. Bush
to protect the American homeland following the terrorist attacks in
Aircrews from the wing's 149th Fighter Squadron fly the
"The mission for the protection of the homeland has not changed
for us since the inception of Operation Noble Eagle," said Lt. Col.
James Cox, 149th FS commander. The capability of the 149th to carry
out the mission has been greatly increased because of the abilities
of the F-22.
The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions
providing a diverse aerial combat capability for operational
concepts. One concept the F-22 has become involved with here is
Total Force Integration. An example of TFI is the combination of
two force components -- active duty and Air Guard in this case --
sharing the responsibility of one mission -- Operation Noble
Under the TFI construct, the active duty 1st FW and the 192nd FW
provide combat forces in a more cost-effective manner to support
the defense of the nation, said Lt. Col. David Nardi, 149th Fighter
Squadron operations officer. This is the first time the Air Guard
has operated with a front-line fighter soon after it reached full
The 1st FW and 192nd FW combined in October 2007 under TFI. That
move made the 192nd the first Air Guard unit to operate the
"The integration of the two wings provides the combat
capabilities we need to execute the Operation Noble Eagle mission,"
said Colonel Nardi. The TFI construct adds a tremendous amount of
ability from all critical areas required in protecting the nation
and fulfilling the Air Force mission around the world.
The F-22 flew its first active-duty flight in support of
Operation Noble Eagle in January 2007. The 1st FW's 27th FS was the
first unit to conduct an operational flight with live ordnance
loaded in the Raptor.
"We do the same thing for Operation Noble Eagle as we would do
in theater, in support of the troops," said Colonel Cox. "The F-22
has performed brilliantly and we have seen our best response times