JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
More than 200 members of the 113th Wing deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to project combat airpower in support of U.S. Central Command operations in the region, increasing the defensive capabilities and preserving operational depth in the Arabian Peninsula.
F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, maintenance crews and other support personnel from the District of Columbia Air National Guard make up the deployment package.
“Our deployment comes at an important time in a dynamic theater of operations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Karl Wilson, “these are the types of opportunities we all joined up to support.”
Wilson, an F-16 Instructor Pilot from the 121st Fighter Squadron, served on active duty for 11 years before joining the 113th Wing October 2020. This will be his first combat deployment but he is familiar with the CENTCOM area of responsibility as he spent 2018 to 2020 assigned to the U.S. Air Forces Central Air Warfare Center at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
“The 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron will provide flexible combat air power for America across a spread of different mission sets, including close air support, defensive counter air and air operations in support of maritime warfare,” said Wilson. “We’ll also spearhead the development of agile combat employment by fighting from austere locations with a small contingent of support troops.”
Capt. Stephen “Tazer” Faist, 121st EFS chief of training, will join Wilson -- with this being Faist’s first combat deployment as well.
Faist has dedicated six years to the Air Force, having been a part of the 113th Wing for two years.
“This deployment for me is a culmination of a year and a half of pilot training, nine months of F-16 school, SERE training, hundreds of continuation training sorties, a Red Flag, a Green Flag, and more than 15 other TDYs,” said Faist. “So what I am looking forward to the most is actually getting to use all of that training and for it to be my turn to fly combat missions”
The D.C. Air National Guard deploys hundreds of capitol guardsmen annually to execute its mission, serve the country and continuously improve its practices.
“It’s also a demonstration of the power of Citizen-Airmen,” said Wilson. “The Guard is made up of ordinary people who seamlessly transform into warriors when called, and this deployment is a fulfillment of our true purpose.”