The U.S. Air Force said in a statement that a contingent of F-16C Fighting Falcons and support personnel from the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to a statement, the squadron, known by the nickname “Gamblers,” will play a key role in supporting the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission of sustaining and defending joint and partner forces by projecting combat airpower in support of theater plans and operations.
The F-16 is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. It provides a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations.
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“This aircraft is a jack of all trades and can do literally anything, which is why we are out here,” said a 77th EFS pilot. “You strap this jet on your back you’re basically on a rocket ship. I love doing this every day.”
While the F-16 isn’t new to the Air Force, it’s presence at PSAB is a first.
“This is the first time this unit has been out here at Prince Sultan Air Base and it’s the first time this base has had a multi-role air-to-air and air-to-ground platform,” said one of the deployed pilots.
Several fighters, their crews and support personnel with the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron bedded down at PSAB. The deployed Airmen are excited to “deal in” downrange.
“What I most look forward to with coming to work every day is the professionalism from my peers, leaders and subordinates as well as our maintenance team,” the pilot said. “Not everyone realizes how much goes into getting pilots in the air. It’s not just crew chiefs, but also fuels, munitions and many more Airmen.”
The beauty of Saudi Arabia was not lost on the fighters as they flew over the base for the first time.
“To see another side of the world is an awesome experience,” one pilot added. “As we flew over this beautiful country, it hit home. I’ve never been more proud to be a Gambler, to be in the Air Force and to be here.”
Armed with intensive preparedness, the Gambler’s commander said the squadron is ready to “double down” at PSAB.
“The Gamblers are ready to patrol the skies, deliver precision airstrikes and train alongside regional partners to maximize capabilities in regards to mutual security concerns,” the commander said.
The addition of fighters will help fulfill PSAB’s vision: a robust and resilient warfighting platform, enabling Central Command and Air Forces Central Command to preserve operational depth, stage joint forces, maintain supply lines and project overwhelming combat power.