Release No. 2023 – 01
Feb. 05, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
104FW contributes to downing of PRC surveillance balloon
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WESTFIELD, Massachusetts — Yesterday, aircraft from the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, stationed at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, took part in the operation that successfully shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina.
“We’re very proud to have taken part today,” said Col. David ‘Moon’ Halasi-Kun, 104th Fighter Wing commander. “As part of our 24/7/365 mission to protect the United States from aerial threats, we launched two F-15C Eagles in support of the successful downing of the Peoples Republic of China surveillance balloon.”
At the direction of President Biden, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high-altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the PRC over U.S. territorial waters in U.S. airspace.
As announced by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and USNORTHCOM, a 1st Fighter Wing F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to air missile, which took down the balloon.
The 104th maintains a 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert providing armed F-15 fighters ready to scramble on a moment’s notice to protect the northeast United States from any airborne threat, assuring security for one-quarter of the nation’s population and over one-third of its Gross Domestic Product.
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The 104th Fighter Wing is made up of highly trained personnel ready to provide Air Superiority on-demand anywhere in the world with 21 assigned F-15C Eagle aircraft. The 104th is trained to provide 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert, providing armed F-15 fighters ready to scramble in a moment’s notice to protect the northeast United States from any airborne threat, security for one quarter of the nation’s population and over one-third of the Gross Domestic Product. The Wing is always on call for emergency response to include security, logistics, communications, explosive ordnance disposal, firefighting, and medical support to the nation and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.