RICHMOND, Va. — United States Air Force F-22 Raptors and Airmen from the 1st Fighter Wing and the Virginia National Guard’s 192nd Wing recently deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, from Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The F-22’s deployed to Qatar for the first time in order to defend American forces and interests in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
“Our Airmen were fully involved in the entire process to generate, get out the door as well as embedded throughout the deployed forces,” said Col. Frank J. Lobash, commander of the 192nd. “We continue to enjoy a fantastic partnership with the 1st Fighter Wing and the 633rd Air Base Wing, and I am incredibly proud of the professionalism and dedication of each and every one of our Airmen.”
VNG Airmen train and fight side-by-side with active duty Air Force as part of the total force integration between the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing resulting in efficiencies at Langley and the Virginia Air National Guard contributing to the Combat Air Forces’ warfighting capabilities.
“On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I want to thank both of you for your leadership and would ask that you give my thanks to your units for the efforts all of you expended to ensure aircraft and the Virginia Air National Guard personnel were able to deploy on short notice and support Combatant Commander requirements for emergent operations,” wrote Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in a letter to the commanders of the 192nd Operations Group and 192nd Maintenance Group. “As the Commander in Chief of the Virginia National Guard, I couldn’t be more proud of what you are doing and how well you represent us.”
VNG Airmen have been in the fight since 2015 when the F-22s were first flown in combat operations, and they have continued a busy operational tempo ever since.
Airmen assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing and the 192nd Wing returned to Virginia in October 2018 from a six-month deployment to the Middle East as part of the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Their efforts enabled USAF F-22 Raptors to deliver air superiority during combat operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and the fight against enemy forces in Iraq and Syria.
During the deployment, the 94th EFS protected coalition ground forces operating within Syria by flying defensive counter air missions against enemy air-to-ground capable fighter aircraft. The squadron also flew offensive counter air missions deep into Syrian territory, facing both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missile systems. On several occasions, the Raptors provided armed over watch for U.S. Navy aircraft as they transited through the Straits of Hormuz.
The 94th EFS flew more combat sorties and hours on a per aircraft basis than any deployed F-22 squadron ever. The squadron logged more than 590 sorties and more than 4,600 flight hours, dropping 4,250 pounds of ordnance and deterring 587 enemy aircraft. The squadron also accomplished the first-ever F-22 Raptor combat surge, which maximized combat sorties over a three-day period.