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Fighter squadron ready to 'fight tonight' in Southwest Asia

By Master Sgt. Julie Briden-Garcia , 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

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CENTCOM

The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15Cs, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, arrived in Southwest Asia April 9, 2011, to enhance regional partnerships. Photo by Senior Airman Maynelinne De La Cruz.

SOUTHWEST ASIA (April 20, 2011) — The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron activated their squadron for the second time in a decade at a deployed location. As part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, the Fighter Squadron will fly, fight and win with the state-of-the-art F-15C Eagle to enhance regional partnerships, support regional security exercises and demonstrate a continued commitment to regional security and stability. 

Squadron commander Lt. Col. Skip Pribyl, from RAF Lakenheath, U.K., is ready to assume the ‘fight tonight’ stance and 380th’s mission motto, “One Team, One Fight.”

“We are proud to take on the mission … that blends a recent experience in building partnerships with our proven record of combat air superiority,” Colonel Pribyl said.

The 493rd EFS brings a rich history to the fight. Their legacy dates back to World War II with successful air-to-air battles, scoring kills with the P-47 during the Battle of the Bulge. That legacy continued through the 1990s with their participation in Operations Southern and Northern Watch until their final rotation in 2001, and now, ten years later, as the ‘on call’ squadron for CENTCOM. 

The 493rd EFS replaces the 67th EFS and their commander, Lt. Col. Robert Cioppa, sending them back to Kadena Air Base, Japan after a three month deployment here. Col. Greg Guillot, 380th Expeditionary Operations Group commander, commended their work and praised the incoming Eagles. 

“Since the [67th EFS] had received their deployment order tasking for them to join CENTCOM as the first-ever theater security cooperation F-15s in mid-January, they have deployed, set up a first-class operation, and flown over 550 sorties preparing for the defense of the Arabian Gulf while improving [Host Nation] fighter capabilities. 

I have no doubt the [493rd] will build on the strong ‘fight tonight’ foundation established by the [67th], and will be ready to prove once and again that there are fighter squadrons, and then there are Eagle squadrons,” Colonel Guillot said. 

The F-15C Eagle’s air superiority is achieved through a mixture of unprecedented maneuverability and acceleration, range, weapons and avionics. The Eagle itself is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield.