May 19, 2005
Clemson Head Football Coach Tommy Bowden has been nominated and selected for an F-16 Orientation Flight with the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard. The flight will take place at McEntire Air National Guard Station, located 10 miles east of Columbia on Wednesday, May 25. Bowden will spend the day at the facility with the flight to take off at 3:00 PM.
The F-16 is a single-engine fighter jet capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. Most F-16s are single-seat fighters. Coach Bowden will fly in an F-16D, which is a two-seat version of the aircraft used primarily for training. He will have the opportunity to experience many of the aircraft’s extraordinary capabilities, likely fly at speeds of more than600 miles per hour and pull as many as 9 Gs during his Orientation Flight.
His pilot is scheduled to be Captain Rick “Slammer” Noble, a Clemson graduate and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
In February 2003, nearly 400 members of the 169th FW and all of its F-16s were mobilized and deployed to Southwest Asia as part of what became Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 169th was attached to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, stationed in Qatar. The unit flew more than 400 combat missions, performing the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) mission and flying numerous precision bombing missions over Iraq.
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