AIRCRAFT from the US Air Force’s 20th Fighter Wing/77th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron ‘The Gamblers’ have taken over the rotation of fighters deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The F-16s from the unit arrived at Bagram from Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, on October 26. They are replacing F-16s from the 31st FW/555th EFS ‘Triple Nickel’, which will now return home to Aviano Air Base, Italy.
The US Air Force has had a constant fighter presence in Afghanistan for more than a decade and Triple Nickel had previously made regular deployments to the country. The unit had begun the latest deployment when an unspecified number of its F-16s arrived at Bagram on April 25 to operate as part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing’s 455th Expeditionary Operations Group. They replaced the F-16s of the 20th Fighter Wing’s 79th EFS ‘Tigers’ which then returned home to Shaw AFB, South Carolina, after spending six months at Bagram. As previously reported on Warnsey’s World, additional Triple Nickel F-16s arrived at Bagram on August 31 to boost the number of fighters deployed at Bagram.