AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, –
For the first time in 15 years, the 555th Fighter Squadron has deployed to the Air Forces Central Command area of operations to provide war-winning air power and deterrence to the region.
One of the biggest enthusiasts of the Triple Nickel and their F-16 Fighting Falcons being in the region is U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command and former commander of the 555th FS, from October 2003 to July 2005.
“A lot has changed since I was the commander of the Triple Nickel,” Guastella said, while meeting with the current Triple Nickel commander for the first time on the Al Udeid Air Base flight line. “The level that they’re at now far exceeds anything that we were at back then, which makes me proud to be an American and thrilled to have them here today. From our pilots as well as our maintainers, continuing to generate world-class combat airpower after all this time makes me really proud.”
For a squadron with more than 75 years of aviation lineage, this assignment is nothing new to the warfighters of the Triple Nickel, deployed from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Leading the charge is the 555th FS commander, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col Beau Diers.
“The Triple Nickel is rapidly mobile, we’re lethal and we’re ready to deliver multi-role air-to-ground, air-to-air and stand off munitions anywhere, anytime,” Diers said. “The same esprit de corps and warrior mentality exists in the squadron dating all the way back to World War II, to Vietnam, and to countless deployments to the CENTCOM area of responsibility. The pilots and maintainers are ready and we’re happy to be here.”
Aside from combat air power, the 555th FS also performs air and space control and force application roles of counter-air, strategic attack and counter-land, including interdiction and close-air support in support of the joint, NATO, and combined operations.
“We bring a lot with this squadron and all the combat forces here bring a lot to this theater,” Guastella said as he prepared to fly a mission in a Triple Nickel F-16. “It’s a message of assurance to our partners, and it’s a message of deterrence to anyone in this region that wants to disrupt peace and stability. We’re honored to be here and perform our critically important mission for our nation and for our coalition.”