The 100 FS, the flying component of the Alabama Air National Guard’s 187 FW, flies the Block 30 F-16C+ Fighting Falcon.

From April to November of 2014, they deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was the first time an Air National Guard unit stayed for a full six-month rotation.

Watch as “Lefty” and “Split” go from being two brand-new F-16 pilots to combat veterans under the watchful eye and tutelage of “Hollywood,” “Homie,” “Flash,” and “Sheriff.”

If you’ve ever wondered what a young wingman’s first experience with combat is like, climb aboard with the Red Tails and see for yourself!

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Scott Wolf, accomplished writer and renowned aviation photojournalist.