fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Big Year for Duluth Fighter Squadron Deployed in ISIS Fight

The men and women of the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota National Guard base in Duluth generally maintain a low profile.  Consequently, many of us have little idea of the unit’s  contribution to our nation’s security.

But at the 148th’s recent annual dinner, commander Col. Chris Blomquist called 2018 the squadron’s toughest year on record, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

In 2018, more than half of the 148th’s 1000 mission-qualified members were deployed across the world and United States for up to 90 to 180 days at a time. On top of that, the Duluth base hosted President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on their two separate trips.”This has been the most taxing year in the history of the 148th,” Blomquist told the crowd gathered inside the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center’s Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon for the 148th’s annual retirement and awards ceremony.

Air national guardsmen are no longer solely weekend warriors once a month. Hundreds of the Duluth squadron’s airmen this year were sent to an undisclosed location in the fight to defeat ISIS, known as Operation Inherent Resolve.

For the first time in its history, nearly half of the base was deployed at the same time. Some of the details are posted on the unit’s DOD web page.

These Airmen were assigned to the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, serving as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CTR-OIR). While overseas, they generated, executed, and sustained combat airpower across their assigned region. CTR-OIR was committed to defeating ISIS and setting conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability.

The 148th Airmen were deployed for three to four months, depending on the needed skill set, and were well-trained and ready, performing to an extremely high level to support their overseas mission.

Their commander said the unanticipated deployments had stretched some families to their limits.

“There were countless times that people volunteered to help families of a deployed 148th member in need,” said Blomquist. “I would like to personally thank the community, families, friends and employers of our Airmen for supporting them during this time.”

 

 

 

 

 

In previous years, the Duluth airbase has also had to fight a battle on the home front in order to justify its existence. But with the Air Force currently expanding there may be reinforcements on the way with additional personnel to take off some of the pressure in future deployments.

Blomquist said 52 full-time positions were already added to the base in 2018, mostly in aircraft maintenance, and that the 148th, which currently flies F-16s, will again lobby for new F-35 fighters.

For years, the 148th has tried to upgrade to the F-35 in an effort to ensure the base stays in Duluth.

“We are now going to advocate for next-generation aircraft so that the 148th Fighter Wing may continue to serve this country and the thousand-plus airmen in job security here in Duluth,” Blomquist said. “As the Air Force makes its case for ‘The Air Force We Need,’ we will grow from 312 operational squadrons to 386 operational squadrons. So now is the time to pursue F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or a newer manned-fighter aircraft in Duluth at the 148th Fighter Wing.”

So it appears the Duluth squadron won’t likely be going anywhere for now, except on missions like Operation Inherent Resolve.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Mackinac Virtual Event: Environment

    Location: Virtual Event

    What energy could (and should) look like in a post-COVID-19 world Register HERE! Join Center of the American Experiment Policy Fellow Isaac Orr and fellow environmental policy experts to discuss what energy could (and should) look like in a post-COVID-19 world. Joe Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center, will share opening remarks and be followed by featured speakers: Jason Isaac, senior manager of the Life:Powered project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation Isaac Orr, policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment Jason Hayes, director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Early in the coronavirus quarantines,…

    Register Now
  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders- Now in September!

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    NEW SEPTEMBER DATE: We have made the difficult decision to once again move the date of this event. We will now host our Annual Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. All tickets bought for the April 4th, or June 18th dates are transferrable. We are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, but we look forward to seeing you on September 19! Direct any questions to Kathryn Hinderaker (kathryn.hinderaker@americanexperiment.org or 612-428-7005).   American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to…

    Register Now