Redefining Endurance

On Monday, the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb., will surpass 20 years of non-stop support of operations in Southwest Asia. This is believed to be the longest single continuous deployment in Air Force history, according to wing officials. “This achievement is truly remarkable,” said Brig. Gen. John Shanahan, commander of this RC-135 unit, which is known as the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth. He added that “it’s amazing to think that we have new airmen assigned to the wing who were born after our first deployment to the region.” Members of the wing first arrived in Southwest Asia on Aug. 9, 1990, one week after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Today, they average 3.1 deployments to the region per year. Currently the wing’s RC-135s fly with the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron from an air base in the region. (Offutt report by Ryan Hansen)