Deployed JSTARS E-8C mission surpasses 100,000 combat flying hours supporting USCENTCOM

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Julie Parker
  • 116 ACW Pubilc Affairs
Team JSTARS set a major milestone Friday when they surpassed 100,000-combat flying hours in support of the U.S. Central Command while flying the E-8C Joint STARS out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Earlier in 2014, the joint and total force team comprised of the 116th Air Control Wing, from the Georgia Air National Guard; the 461st Air Control Wing; and the Army's 138th Military Intelligence Company, surpassed 100,000-flying hours collectively in support of all combatant commands across the globe. 

"Surpassing 100,000-combat-flying hours in direct support of CENTCOM has come about through the dedication of the JSTARS team of Airmen and Soldiers along with support of our government and industry partners," said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing.

"The tasking in the CENTCOM Theater during the last 13 years is a clear indication of the value and capabilities that the E-8C brings to the manned command and control, battle management, intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance mission.  This milestone is not ours alone.  Our families and communities that support us every day play a key and critical role," he said.

During the last 13 years of continuous deployments to CENTCOM, the Airmen and Soldiers of Team JSTARS have seen action in six different operations including: Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom's Sentinel.

"Our aircrew, maintainers, and support personnel have proven their ability
to rise above every challenge," said Col. John Verhage, commander of the 116th Operations Group. "They've seen this weapon system through numerous changes for more than a decade; adapting and staying focused on the current fight continuously."

The 116th Air Control Wing is the host wing for the one-of-a-kind E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System. The platform provides the ability to track ground vehicles, maritime and some aircraft, collect imagery, and relay tactical data to ground and air theater commanders.