The U.S. Air Force’s longest continuously deployed unit, the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, supporting the U.S. Air Forces Central’s mission, has finally returned home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 8, 2021.
What began around Thanksgiving 2002, ended with the 41st ECS return following a nearly 19-year span supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.
“In that time, we have flown 14,753 sorties and 90,364.4 combat flight hours providing an electronic blanket of protection for U.S. and coalition forces, as well as local civilians throughout U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility,” said Lt. Col. John McCoy, 55th Electronic Combat Group deputy commander.
The 41st ECS is under the 55th ECG, the U.S. Air Force’s only airborne electronic attack mission, which operates the EC-130H Compass Call that uses specialized jamming equipment to confuse enemy defenses and disrupt their communications.
These vital capabilities were instrumental in supporting tactical air, ground and naval operations in Afghanistan and some Airmen are still around who have been providing this capability for the past 19 years.
“Of the 975 Airmen currently assigned to the 55th ECG, only 61 were on active duty when the 19-year streak began and only 38 were active when we first deployed to CENTCOM,” said McCoy. “We are extremely proud of the entire generation of Airmen who dedicated themselves to this mission.”
The EC-130s and their crews were invaluable to the operations in Afghanistan and even though their time there has ended, their achievements will never be forgotten.
Without the 55th ECG in CENTCOM, the electromagnetic spectrum of attack is still a force multiplier of our joint and coalition forces that will continue to be employed if needed.
Family members welcome Airmen from the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 8, 2021. Since Thanksgiving of 2002, the 41st ECS have been continuously deployed to support Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaitlyn Ergish)
Airmen from the 55th Electronic Combat Group welcome home the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Nov. 8, 2021. The 41st ECS was the longest continuously deployed unit in Afghanistan, in U.S. Air Force history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaitlyn Ergish)