Col. Brian Simpler
- Commander, 125th FW
Year in Review - 2015
Since 1947, the 125th Fighter Wing (125th FW) has proudly protected the skies with strategic air defense
over most of the southeastern United States. As the premier F-15C unit in the United States, the 125th
FW maintains and flies F-15C fighter aircraft at Jacksonville International Airport. In south Florida the
125th FW’s Detachment 1 (Det 1) conducts a continuous 24-hour alert mission at Homestead Air Reserve
Base executing the top priority of the National Defense Strategy - Defense of the Homeland.
In the past year, five Geographically Separated Units throughout the state of Florida were reorganized to
be a part of the 125th FW, making it one of the largest wings in the Air National Guard. This realignment
makes all Florida Air National Guard (FLANG) units inspectable under the new Air Force Inspection System
and provides better support to Airmen throughout the state.
Airmen of the 125th FW were engaged across the globe, simultaneously executing missions for four
Combatant Commanders: U.S. Northern Command, Pacific Command, Central Command (CENTCOM),
and European Command (EUCOM). The 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the oldest unit in the
FLANG, also known as the ‘Boxin’ Gators,’ made history as the first Air National Guard unit to support
a Theater Security Package (TSP) in the European Command. The TSP mission included deploying to
Bulgaria as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) to deter further Russian aggression while supporting
our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners.
The Air National Guard’s first-ever full Critical Care Air Transport Team, composed of 125th Medical Group
personnel, deployed to EUCOM to transport wounded Soldiers and Airmen from CENTCOM to Germany
and the U.S. deploying Airmen aboard U.S. Navy vessels, the 290th Joint Communications Support
Squadron (290th JCSS) provided communications throughout Asia on the humanitarian mission, Pacific
Partnership 2015. The 290th JCSS also deployed Airmen to both EUCOM and CENTCOM. The 114th
Space Control Squadron (114th SPCS) and the 159th Weather Flight both deployed Airmen in support of
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Approximately 20 percent of the wing was deployed at one time during the last year, with another 20
percent preparing for upcoming mobilizations across the globe.
The dedication demonstrated by Florida’s Airmen earned the 114th SPCS, 290th JCSS and the 125th FW
the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. This prestigious accomplishment confirms the 125th FW is ready
to execute all state and federal missions with speed and precision as this nation’s Premier Fighter Wing.