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174TH Fighter Wing says goodbye to F-16s

The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY.  Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission.  

(Photo taken by TSgt Jeremy Call, 174th Fighter Wing)

The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California. This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission. (Photo taken by TSgt Jeremy Call, 174th Fighter Wing)

The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY.  Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California.  This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission. 
 
(Photo taken by TSgt Jeremy Call, 174th Fighter Wing)

The first F-16 fighter jets taxi out to the runway for takeoff from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY. Two F-16 fighter jets left Hancock Field, and will find a new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California. This signifies the 174th Fighter Wing's transition to the MQ-9 Reaper mission. (Photo taken by TSgt Jeremy Call, 174th Fighter Wing)

Hancock Field, Syracuse, NY -- The 174th Fighter Wing said goodbye Tuesday, October 14, to two F-16 fighter jets as they left Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY to go off to their new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California. 

"It is a bittersweet day for the 174th Fighter Wing. We are sad to see the first departures of the F-16 fighter jets that we have loved flying for the past 19 years, but are excited to open a new chapter of combat aviation with the coming MQ-9 Reaper mission," said Colonel Charles Dorsey, vice wing commander.

The takeoff of these two jets is the first significant step towards the 174th Fighter Wing's changeover to the new MQ-9 Reaper mission.  The transition officially began October 1, 2008 and is expected to last approximately 18 months. 

The Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle, capable of gathering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.  It is also capable of making attacks in a hunter-killer mode.  And since the MQ-9 Reaper is controlled remotely, it has the added benefit of keeping the pilots and operators out of harm's way.

The 174th FW was formed on October 28, 1947 as the 138th Fighter Squadron. The 138th FS was the first post-WWII Air National Guard flying unit in New York State. The unit flew P-47D Thunderbolts and was based at the former Army Air Force facilities at Hancock Field.

The 174th FW's federal mission is to provide combat ready personnel, aircraft, and equipment for worldwide deployment. To deter, or attack and destroy, enemy surface and airborne forces, in support of joint operations.