Governor Jindal said, “I am honored to welcome home these brave men and women who volunteered to put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. Today is a great day for these soldiers, their families and our entire state – and we’re proud to have such courageous men and women representing Louisiana and our nation. We pray for the men and women currently overseas that are standing up for our values and freedom.”
On July 3, 2012, the 159th Fighter Wing deployed to a military base overseas. Upon arrival, the 159th joined the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing with the primary mission to fly in support of the Joint Air Defense of the Arabian Gulf and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The mission included providing air superiority in support of national military objectives and flying Fighter Integration Sorties with F-22 Raptors and F-15E Strike Eagles.
"Louisiana National Guard Airmen are a great credit to our Guard's ability to respond to the needs of our nation. The Airmen and pilots of the 159th Fighter Wing performed superbly because of their high level of training, skill and professionalism,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, the adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.
"Their hard work and dedication has proven once again to be a critical element of our national defense. They bring pride to our state and the National Guard" said Curtis.
The 159th is headquartered at the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, La. The 159th is led by Lt. Col. Jeffrey “Homer” Samuel, Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Raynal and Master Sgt. Eric Traylor.
The 159th’s previous deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2002-2003 and Operation New Dawn from 2010-2011.
The 159th also assisted emergency/recovery efforts in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.