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News | July 20, 2021

“Capital Guardians” bring excellence to AFCENT skies

By Capt. Rachel Buitrago

Over the past week, aircraft and Airmen assigned to the District of Columbia Air National Guard’s 113th Wing arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to join the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing as it provides combat power projection across the region in defense of U.S. forces.

The wing sent a contingent of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons to reinforce PSAB’s defensive capabilities, provide operational depth, and support U.S. Central Command operations.

“We bring a range of capabilities uniquely suited to the AFCENT mission as the nation’s premier homeland defense unit, as well as deep experience in air-to-ground integration,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Wilson, 121st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. “We are motivated to perform the mission and showcase the unique strengths of the Air National Guard.”

Known as the “Capital Guardians,” members of the 113th Wing serve as the nation’s only federal National Guard unit and provide domestic operation capabilities in support of the District of Columbia.

“This unit is no stranger to 24/7 operations, providing expert vigilance in defense of our nation’s capital and we bring that same enthusiasm to the PSAB team,” Wilson said.

Other incoming leaders shared that sentiment.

“Our Wing has a fairly unique mission,” said Maj. Jaresha Obey, 121st Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron commander. “Even at home station we provide an unrivaled 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert force to protect the Capital region and the Eastern seaboard. This requires us to keep our jets ready to go at a moment’s notice to defend our nation’s skies, building a foundation of care and competence that we plan to continue here.”

Obey’s aircraft maintainers are responsible for fighter sortie generation and bring years of experience on F-16s to PSAB, especially as they prepare to tackle the challenges of agile combat employment taskings.

“Most of our Airmen possess decades of aviation maintenance experience across a variety of weapons systems platforms, making us uniquely qualified to increase capabilities in the region,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Gilmer, 121st EFGS senior enlisted leader.

The 113th Wing brought maintenance and support personnel from across the nation to support operations, with Air National Guard members from more than 30 states supporting the District of Columbia ANG deployment.

“The district Capital Guardians routinely display pride and resolve in the defense of our nation’s capital and we are excited to bring our road game to the AOR to showcase the talents of our Airmen and the lethality of our aircraft in defense of the region,” said Gilmer.