Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing to Flyover the New England Patriots’ Home Opener on the 69th Air Force Birthday

  • Published
Press Release
Release No. 16-22
Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Public Affairs Specialist
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer
413-568-9151 ext. 698-1299 or ext. 698-1800
Cell: (619) 665-4252

September 16, 2016

Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing to Flyover the New England Patriots' Home Opener on the 69th Air Force Birthday

Barnes Air National Guard Base will perform an F-15 Eagle flyover for the New England Patriots home opener game Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Boston, Massachusetts.

New England Patriots will kick off the home opener game against the Miami Dolphins September 18 at 1 p.m. The 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 Eagles will conduct the flyover during the opening ceremony.

" It's always a distinguished honor to be able to perform a flyover for the community, especially at the end of the National Anthem, as it is a reminder of the sacrifices previous Airmen and Soldiers have made to allow us the freedoms we enjoy as Americans," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beckel, Commander of the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing. "Their sacrifices allow us to enjoy many freedoms, including watching the Patriots win again, Sunday after Sunday."

"The Patriots fans look up and see F-15's flying over as the singer hits the last note of the Anthem, and it is truly the sound of freedom echoing throughout the stadium.  This Sunday's flyover is extra special given that it is the Air Force's Birthday, celebrating 69 years of Air Dominance."

September 18, 2016 is the Air Force's 69th Birthday! The Air Force Birthday is a celebration of the proud history and heritage of American Airmen, the service's longstanding culture of innovation, and the unique global aspects of Airpower and the Air Force's enduring contribution to national security.

The Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15 Eagles will fly in formation serving as a symbol of patriotism. Since the first flight as an independent service in 1947, the Air Force has provided our Nation's most responsive and effective source of global vigilance, reach and power in peacetime and war.

The flyovers performed by the 104th Fighter Wing's F-15 Eagles during special events display the Air National Guard's presence; serve as a training opportunity for the pilots and ground crews and for recruiting future members.

American Airmen bring airpower to the joint fight. The Massachusetts Air National Guard is a component of the United States Air Force total force.

Today's diverse Airmen stand ready to fly, fight and win against worldwide threats in air, space and cyberspace. Our Air Force is fully engaged as part of America's Joint Force in every region of the world and every mission area across the full spectrum of military operations.

The current threat environment is expanding, with existing adversaries and emerging near-peer competitors located and operating around the world.  The Air Force leverages critical partnerships with allies and partners to sustain presence, support deterrence, and provide combat capability in every region of the world.

Recently the Massachusetts's Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing deployed as part of a NATO Air Surveillance mission in Iceland as part of a Theater Security Package (TSP) in support of NATO alliance commitments.  The 104th also deployed to Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, and other European NATO and partner nations.

The 104th Fighter Wing's portion of the TSP was a three month deployment to four different locations. The 104th FW sent 250 people, 12 jets (eight from Barnes and 4 from Fresno), and operated out of three locations simultaneously. The unit was split into a Northern Route (Iceland to Estonia to Bulgaria), a Southern Route (Holland to Bulgaria), and simultaneously the alert along with the domestic operation missions continued back home here in Massachusetts.

From Iceland, the 104th moved the four jets and about 80 people to Estonia. There, we hit all four objectives: REASSURANCE, DETERRENCE, INTEROPERABILITY, and BASING.

From Holland, the 104th took the jets to our final destination, Bulgaria, with the northern route joining us a few weeks later. Bulgaria was about REASSURANCE, DETERRENCE, and BASING

The 104th Fighter Wing is equipped with the F-15 Eagle. One mission of the 104th is Aerospace Control Alert (ACA), providing armed fighters ready to scramble in a moment's notice to protect the Northeast from any airborne threat. The unit is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation's population and one third of the Gross Domestic Product.