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Anniversary of airpower: Famous fighter squadron celebrates centennial while deployed

By Staff Sgt. Marjorie Bowlden 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

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SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 8, 2017 — The 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron is slated to celebrate 100 years of airpower while deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 8, 2017.

An F-22A Raptor with the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rests on the flight line after flying in support of Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 3, 2017. The 27 EFS, currently deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, will celebrate its centennial May 8, 2017. This squadron is one of the oldest and most famous fighter squadrons in American history and carries on its long legacy of airpower in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marjorie A. Bowlden)
An F-22A Raptor with the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rests on the flight line after flying in support of Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 3, 2017. The 27 EFS, currently deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, will celebrate its centennial May 8, 2017. This squadron is one of the oldest and most famous fighter squadrons in American history and carries on its long legacy of airpower in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marjorie A. Bowlden)
An F-22A Raptor with the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rests on the flight line after flying in support of Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 3, 2017. The 27 EFS, currently deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, will celebrate its centennial May 8, 2017. This squadron is one of the oldest and most famous fighter squadrons in American history and carries on its long legacy of airpower in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marjorie A. Bowlden) Anniversary of airpower: Famous fighter squadron celebrates centennial while deployed
An F-22A Raptor with the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron rests on the flight line after flying in support of Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, May 3, 2017. The 27 EFS, currently deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, will celebrate its centennial May 8, 2017. This squadron is one of the oldest and most famous fighter squadrons in American history and carries on its long legacy of airpower in the fight against ISIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marjorie A. Bowlden)
Currently deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, the 27 EFS is one of the oldest and most famous fighter squadrons in United States history. Squadron alumni include Medal of Honor recipient 2nd Lt. Frank Luke and World War II pilot Lt. Thomas E. Maloney.

The squadron has served in both offensive and defensive roles in every major U.S. conflict since the 1st Pursuit Group’s organization in support of WWI in 1917.

“Being the first U.S. fighter squadron to turn 100 I think is very significant because it signifies how old our combat operations have become in the fighter world,” said 27 EFS Commander Lt. Col. Shell. “Tying back through our heritage… it’s been a long time since we’ve continuously done this.”

Alongside 94th Fighter Squadron, the squadron’s home station is the 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Both squadrons currently fly the F-22A Raptor.

The 1 FW and 94 FS will be celebrating their centennial at home station, said Shell. However, there is a special significance to being deployed for this historical milestone.

“To have the 27th Fighter Squadron deployed on their centennial, participating in combat against our enemies, is one of the greatest ways to honor its heritage and tradition of combat excellence,” said 1 FW Commander Col. Peter M. Fesler. “The squadron continues to display its aerial expertise and professionalism in combat as it has over the past century.”

Members will continue to deploy in support of the fight against ISIS for as long as the need exists. Shell said the 27 EFS will continue to uphold its hard-working heritage in the years to come.

“It’s awesome to be here and to be participating in the combat operations against ISIS, which is historical in and of itself,” said Shell. “[I hope] that we’re able to help the U.S. and Coalition forces to roll back ISIS’ hold in the Middle East and be able to release people from their tyranny.”

[Names of 380 AEW personnel have been removed for security purposes]