This week’s tip of the Tricorne hat goes to the fine men and women of the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base near Columbia, South Carolina–collectively known as the Swamp Fox.
The moniker is actually a nod to the notable Brigadier General Francis Marion of American Revolutionary War fame. After successfully employing guerilla tactics against the British, Marion was dubbed the “Swamp Fox” for escaping his British pursuers in the swamp, earning a spot on Britain’s “Most Hated” list.
While the technology and hardware of warfare has changed drastically since Francis Marion used the swampland to evade and confound the British almost 240 years ago, but the Swamp Fox mission of protecting state and country still remains. To that effect, the 169FW regularly deploys overseas in support of expeditionary operations, and maintains an alert detachment (even during the historically severe flooding in the area several months ago, the 169FW never broke their alert status – an amazing feat).
The original Swamp Fox would surely be proud of the airmen of the 169FW, and in awe of the assets they employ in defense of America – namely, the Block 52 Viper.
Powering down the runway at McEntire, this Swamp Fox F-16 can be seen carrying multiple small, blue 25-lb BDU-33 practice bombs, outbound for a nighttime bombing and strafing mission to the nearby Poinsett Electronic Combat Range. A scant 20 miles away from the McEntire flightline, MACE flight can reach the range’s airspace within minutes, allowing for plenty of time to practice dropping off each of the $16 blueberries before recovering to McEntire.
While we’ll never tire of seeing a jet rolling past with the hammer down and spitting out flame, even more so we will be forever grateful for the opportunity to work with the incredible men and women of the 169FW.