Air Guard Provides Top Cover for Iraq Withdrawal

The 125th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron recently arrived in Iraq to provide top cover for US forces as they complete their withdrawal from the country. The F-16 unit is comprised of Air National Guard pilots, maintainers, and support personnel from Arizona, Ohio, and Oklahoma. “We’re providing close air support for more than 40,000 troops leaving Iraq by the end of the year,” said Lt. Col. Rick Poplin, 125th EFS commander. “During this historic undertaking to re-posture personnel, equipment, and bases, force protection remains inherent in every operation we undertake.” Maj. Gen. Russ Handy, commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq, said this mission is helping to ensure that “every US service member and civilian transitions safely out of Iraq and on to their next challenge or home to their loved ones.” (Iraq report by SrA. Chuck Broadway)