On 2 August 1990, the armed forces of Iraq invaded Kuwait. America's answer to the Iraqi aggression proved that the Air National Guard was a full partner in the total U.S. Air Force as they responded with speed and power as part of the overall American and Allied deployment. Air National Guard transports, refuelers, reconnaissance aircraft, fighters, communication and other units were part of the mailed fist that struck the Iraqis in January and February 1991. A new era in warfare began on 17 January 1991 when the Allied air forces initiated the air portion of Operation Desert Storm, a 37-day air offensive which overwhelmed the Iraqi armed forces and opened the way for the ground force attack. The F16A's of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Tactical Fighter Group, the "Swamp Foxes," struck early and often, playing a crucial role in the devastating allied air offensive. "Swamp Fox" F16A fighters left Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia on 5 February 1991 on day 20 of the air offensive. Some of the F16's were armed with "Maverick" air-to-ground missiles designed to destroy pinpointed targets. When this sortie was completed, the pilots reported five Iraqi tanks and one truck destroyed. The Air National Guard's contribution to the success of Operation Desert Storm carries on a tradition of service to both state and nation.
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