JSTARS Unit Reaches 85,000 Flight Hours

Members of the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, an E-8C JSTARS unit, earlier this month reached 85,000 flight hours in support of operations in Southwest Asia since 9/11, according to a release. The unit flies the much-in-demand ground-surveillance airplanes out of an undisclosed air base in the region as part of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The squadron hit the milestone on Aug. 17; since 9/11, its members have flown an average of 19.4 hours a day in sorties taking them over Afghanistan and Iraq, states the Aug. 23 release. “It’s not really about the hours or hitting a magic mark of 85,000, it’s about what it represents, which is nearly 12 continuous years of JSTARS providing protection and overwatch to coalition ground forces and hunting down our enemies,” said a mission crew commander with the unit. The squadron comprises a mix of active duty airmen, Air National Guardsmen, and Army personnel.