The U.S. Air Force completed an 18-year long deployment of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (CENTCOM), according to a recent service news release.
Joint STARS has been continually deployed to the CENTCOM area of responsibility every day since November 2001.
The second-longest deployment in U.S. Air Force history, covers 10,938 sorties, equaling 114,426.6 combat flying hours in support of nearly every CENTCOM operation including Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Sentinel and Inherent Resolve.
“Team JSTARS’ flawless deployment of the Joint STARS weapon system over nearly two decades is a textbook example of total force integration and joint force execution done properly,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Grabowski, Georgia Air National Guard commander. “They have set the gold standard in TFI and will continue to lead the way as they restructure to the new Advanced Battle Management System supporting the Air Force we need.”
Joint STARS aircraft fly over assigned areas of responsibilities and provide battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance so theater joint force commanders have real time decision making tools to prevent loss of life and delay, disrupt and destroy enemy forces.
“Our Airmen and Soldiers, past and present, have demonstrated their commitment and dedication to excellence by overcoming countless obstacles, generating combat airpower, and taking the fight to our adversaries whenever and wherever called upon,” said Col. Edward Goebel, 461st Air Control Wing commander. “I am very proud to be part of this unique capability, and I have every confidence Team JSTARS will continue to answer our nation’s call with disciplined execution and dedication to excellence.”
Established Oct. 1, 2002, as the U.S. Air Force’s first total force initiative wing, Team JSTARS is based at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. It is made up of the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th ACW, the Air Combat Command’s 461st ACW, and the active duty Army Intelligence and Security Command’s 138th Military Intelligence Company.
“The relationship between the Soldiers and Airmen of Team JSTARS enabled unprecedented, timely support to CENTCOM maneuver commanders, undoubtedly saving countless American and coalition service members’ lives,” said Maj. Nicholas Sikes, 138th MICO commander. “Our support will continue as long as the nation and the joint force commanders need the capabilities we can provide.”
Since 2001, Airmen and Soldiers from Team JSTARS have collectively deployed thousands of times to the CENTCOM area of responsibility in support of the Joint STARS mission. From aircraft maintainers and operators to medical, logistics and administrative personnel, the past 18 years have proven how teamwork, commitment, and service before self all come together to ensure mission success.