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158th Fighter Wing Det. 1 [158th FW Det. 1]

Detachment 1, 158th FW, was deactivated on July 15, 1998. However, an Economic Impact Analysis for FY2000 of Charleston AFB, SC, suggests that the detachment might still be active.

While active, Detachment 1 had maintained four F-16 aircraft at Charleston AFB, SC, and was tasked with providing alert fighter as part of the air defense of the continental United States.

Two of the aircraft were on "hot" (alert) while the other two were spare. The hot aircraft sit fully armed, ready to go. Pilots were on alert for three to four days at a time, while crew chiefs pulled 24-hour shifts, ready to respond to a request for a scramble. The unit was on alert 24 hours a day and was required to have their aircraft airborne within five minutes after receiving the alarm to scramble. The pilot's flight gear hanged on the plane's boarding ladder so that it can be donned quickly.

In 1996, the alert aircraft responded to more than 20 actual air defense scrambles, nine of which were against unknown aircraft entering the United States Air Defense Identification Zone and two in support of aircraft in distress. Some of these scrambles were against aircraft suspected of trying to avoid radar in order to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the U.S.

Additionally, higher headquarters conducted no-notice exercises to test the detection capability of the South East Air Defense Sector and response time of the alert pilots and aircraft. The four aircraft at Charleston were rotated regularly with other aircraft from Vermont.

The detachment flew roughly 25 percent of the 158th FW's alotted training sorties. This equated to about 12 sorties a week and 650 sorties per year. Most missions averaged one hour, 20 minutes with no training sorties flown on weekends.



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