One Notch in the Belt

Members of the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, the “Happy Hooligans,” on July 27 completed the final sortie of their first rotation in the combat theater with their C-21 transports. “It’s the first time the Happy Hooligan tail flash has flown in combat,” said 1st Lt. Lee Teigen, one of the C-21 pilots. These Air Guardsmen carried out more than 200 sorties during 90 missions, moving more than 400 persons during this two-month tour, during which they operated from an air base in Southwest Asia as part of the 379th Expeditionary Operations Group. “One of the interesting things about flying into Afghanistan is seeing the buildup of troops and resources in the country,” said Maj. Caleb Christopherson, a C-21 pilot from the wing’s 177th Airlift Squadron. The Happy Hooligans have flown the C-21 since 2006. The wing, which is based at Hector International Airport, in Fargo, N.D., relinquished the last of its F-16s in 2007 courtesy of BRAC 2005. (Southwest Asia report by SSgt. Stacia Zachary)