On July 12, Maj. Yarko Sos of the 119th Fighter Squadron of the 177th Fighter Wing, became the first fighter squadron in the Department of Defense to fly 1,000 missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
"This is something we should all be tremendously proud of," said Col. Mike Cosby, Wing Commander. "Not only our members, but their families and employers all have made sacrifices to allow us to do what we do best – defending our country. It was a total team effort."
Operation Noble Eagle refers to the military operations within the North America airspace including the combat air patrols. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) controls all military air assets assigned to support Operation Noble Eagle within the continental U.S., Canada, and Alaska NORAD Regions. The 177th flies combat air patrol missions in support NORAD in coordination with the NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector command and control center located in Rome, N.Y.
Due to its strategic location between New York City and Washington, D.C., operations at the 177th have surged in response to fighting the War on Terrorism since Sept. 11. More than 650 personnel at the 177th Fighter Wing were activated to support 24-hours-perday, seven-days-per-week combat air patrols (CAPs) over cities including New York, Washington, D.C.; and Philadelphia; as well as other missions. The 119th Fighter Squadron is a 17-aircraft, F-16C fighter squadron assigned to the 177th.
The wing has played an integral role in the “War on Terrorism” since Sept. 11 and the 1,000-sortie mark is evident of this determination, according to Col. Cosby.
In March, Mrs. Lisa Beamer, the widow of the late Todd Beamer, joined the 177th to unveil the “Let’s Roll!” nose art on its wing jet. The dedication honored New Jersey resident Todd Beamer for his heroic actions as he and his fellow passengers thwarted the hijackers on United Flight 93.