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D.C. Air National Guard to reach historic milestone protecting nation's skies

A 113th Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon flies over the skies of D.C. during a routine training mission at Joint Base Andrews, Md.  (Courtesy photo)

A 113th Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon flies over the skies of D.C. during a routine training mission at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (Courtesy photo)

An Airman from the 113th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a training mission April 3, 2012 at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The 113th Wing provides air sovereignty forces to defend the National Capital Region and also provides fighter, airlift and support forces capable of local, national and global employment. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Perry Aston)

An Airman from the 113th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a training mission April 3, 2012 at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The 113th Wing provides air sovereignty forces to defend the National Capital Region and also provides fighter, airlift and support forces capable of local, national and global employment. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Perry Aston)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The D.C. Air National Guard's 113th Wing Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) Detachment here is on the verge of achieving 5,000 alert events since September 11, 2001, making it the most active ACA in the nation.

As part of the federal government's efforts to protect U.S. airspace, the ACA mission includes aerospace control forces arrayed in a rapid response posture to conduct both sovereignty and air defense operations against airborne threats in the National Capital Region. An alert is a rapid response to any air defense operation and air emergency.

"The 5,000 event tally is a significant milestone, and it is double the amount of all other Air National Guard ACA units combined," said Lt. Col. John Vargas 113th Wing ACA Commander. "We have had a great deal of success protecting America's skies, due to the intensity and dedication of our team."

The 113th Wing's primary aircraft, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and their trained personnel, are on alert 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The unit typically scrambles their jet once a day responding to potential threats.  These F-16's and the D.C. Air National Guard trained personnel are part of a multi-layered air defense system for the nation's capital.

The 113th Wing's ACA is one of 16 alert basing locations across the United States which deter, respond to, and if necessary defeat airborne threats over the United States and Canada.
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