Columbia, SC (WLTX) – The South Carolina Air National Guard resumed flight operations today, less than a week after the aircraft incident in Louisville, Ga., Tuesday night. Flying was temporarily halted after two F-16s crashed while on a routine night-time training mission.
The 169th Fighter Wing, here at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Pacific Air Forces area of responsibility, and the Swamp Fox pilots and maintenance crews will resume training for the deployment.
“Over the last few days we have been focused on aircraft recovery, reviewing our processes and preparing assessments, and we are ready to get back to the business of training for combat,” said Col. Nicholas Gentile, 169th Fighter Wing commander.
Gentile added the Aerospace Control Alert unit based at McEntire, providing around-the-clock fighter aircraft capable of responding to threats along the eastern coast of the United States, remains fully operational.
“We have continued our vigilant watch in defense of the nation,” Gentile said.
The aircraft crash Tuesday night is the first loss of a Swamp Fox jet in more than 30 years. The fighter wing had more than 170,000 accident-free flying hours.
An U.S. Air Force Safety Investigation Board, made up of experienced Air Force aviation and safety experts, is convening to determine the cause.