D.C. Air National Guard detachment responds to 4,000th alert since 9/11

Two US Air Force (USAF) F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 121st Fighter Squadron, 113th Wing, District of Columbia (DC) Air National Guard (ANG), in flight over the nation's Capital, during a Combat Air Patrol mission in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.  Air Force fighters and civilian aircraft will participate in FALCON VIRGO 07-09, a monthly National Capitol Region exercise, June 25 through June 29.  Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Young

Two F-16C Fighting Falcons fly over the nation's capital, protecting the skies over the District of Columbia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dennis Young)

1/28/13 -- TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 113th Aerospace Control Alert Detachment of the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews passed a major air defense milestone Jan. 9, responding to its 4,000th alert event since Operation Noble Eagle started in September, 2001.

An alert event is designated when the unit's F-16 fighters are alerted to the runway or beyond responding to a possible airborne threat.

"Day, night, rain or shine, our forces are on alert 24/7 protecting the NCR," said Lt. Col. Chris Hardgrave, the 113th ACA Commander. "I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the men and women of the 113th ACA detachment for hitting this alert milestone. It is a testament to the dedication, professionalism and daily sacrifice of our folks who have done the alert mission day in and day out for over 11 years."

The 113th ACA, protecting the National Capital Region (NCR), is the most active air defense unit in the nation; responding to more alert events than the nation's other ACA units combined. In 2012 alone the unit responded to 509 events and has been conducting steady state alert from Joint Base Andrews since the attacks on 9/11.

"The defense of the NCR is a team effort. We couldn't accomplish our assigned tasking without support from the Eastern Air Defense Sector, Joint Air Defense Operations Center, U.S. Coast Guard assets, 11th Wing, 89th Wing, Air Force District of Washington, and the FAA, just to name a few of our partners here at Joint Base Andrews and around the NCR," said Brig. Gen. Marc Sasseville, the 113th Wing Commander.

Operation Noble Eagle is an ongoing NORAD mission started in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to protect the continental United States from further airborne aggression from inside and outside of U.S. borders. Since then, Continental U.S. NORAD Region fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.