Barnes Air National Guard Base contributes to downing of Chinese surveillance balloon

Chinese balloon shot down over Carolina coast
Chinese balloon shot down over Carolina coast(Karen Meacham)
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 9:21 AM EST
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WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Aircraft from the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard, stationed at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield participated in the downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast on Saturday.

According to 104FW Public Affairs Specialist Randall Burlingame, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command were able to successfully bring down a high-altitude surveillance balloon launched by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over U.S. territorial waters in U.S. airspace under the direction of President Biden.

“We’re very proud to have taken part today,” said Col. David ‘Moon’ Halasi-Kun, 104FW commander. “As part of our 24/7/365 mission to protect the United States from aerial threats, we launched two F-15C Eagles in support of the successful downing of the Peoples Republic of China surveillance balloon.”

The Office of the Secretary of Defense and USNORTHCOM announced that a 1st Fighter Wing F-22 Raptor from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile, which downed the PRC balloon.

Burlingame said that the 104FW “maintains a 24/7 Aerospace Control Alert providing armed F-15 fighters ready to scramble on a moment’s notice to protect the northeast United States from any airborne threat, assuring security for one-quarter of the nation’s population and over one-third of its Gross Domestic Product.”

Barnes officials added that they will provide further information as it becomes available.