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‘Gamblers’ support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron walks on the flightline prior to departing Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

F-16CM Fighting Falcons assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing (FW) are parked on the runway at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. The F-16s assigned to the 20th FW provide suppression of enemy air defenses, as well as air and ground system elimination support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jaques Hall, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron tactical aircraft maintainer, marshals an F-16CM Fighting Falcon on the flightline for a deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. Tactical aircraft maintainers are tasked with ensuring their assigned aircraft are properly maintained before and after each flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron prepares for departure to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. Pilots assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing can reach a ceiling of more than 50,000 feet while maneuvering an F-16CM Fighting Falcon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

A U.S. Air Force pilot assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) performs the 77th FS wave prior to departing to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. The F-16CM Fighting Falcon have been used by the Air Force for more than 30 years of operations, to include air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attacks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron takes off for a deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 21, 2017. The F-16 has the capability of reaching speeds of up to 1,500 mile per hour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing approach a commercial aircraft prior to departing Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 28, 2017. The Airmen deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing board a commercial aircraft at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Oct. 28, 2017. Pilots and maintenance Airmen will continue to work together to track, maintain and support the F-16CM Fighting Falcons mission at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- U.S. Airmen assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and supporting units, deployed in October to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The 77th FS was established in Feb. 20, 1918, and is projected to celebrate its 100-year anniversary next year. Throughout its history the 77th FS has deployed to support various operations including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Our 77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron ‘Gamblers’ are headed downrange to use the combat capabilities they perfected at Shaw to fulfill our mission to rapidly generate lethal combat ready air power to win the current fight,” said Col. Daniel Lasica, 20th Fighter Wing commander. “The impact our Airmen have downrange is significant and our Airmen will continue to support the Air Force mission with excellence whenever called upon to do so.”

More than a half-century ago, during World War II, the 77th was instrumental in the 20th Fighter Group achieving a record elimination of 432 enemy aircraft, 400 locomotives, 1,555 freight cars, 94 ammunition cars and 536 motor vehicles.

The F-16 provides the 20th FW with the power to suppress and destroy enemy air defenses.

Prior to deploying, Airmen must proceed to the Chandler Deployment Processing Center, where they go through a processing line to receive deployment paperwork and speak with various base agencies including; the 20th Comptroller Squadron finance office, 20th FW base chaplains and the 20th Force Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness Center.

Upon completion of the line, Airmen received briefings about what to expect during the deployment and what services are provided to care for their families once deployed.

At the conclusion of the briefings, Airmen disembark in groups to an aircraft and prepare for their venture overseas.

“This is my first base and first deployment,” said Airman 1st Class R-Tease Morales, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental systems technician. “I’m nervous and excited, but I’m ready to experience a deployment and put my training to the test.”

The Airmen of the 77th FS will have the chance to utilize the skills they gained while stateside and apply them overseas; continuing to showcase the lethality of the F-16s they support.

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