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'Happy Hooligan' Mission Change announced
March 5, 1999

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A prominent international manufacturer of fighter aircraft is now honoring military groups for safe, accident-free flying operations. Lockheed-Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems made its first presentation Wednesday, December 9, to the 119th Fighter Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard.

Based in Fargo, 'The Happy Hooligans' surpassed more than 40,000 hours in F-16 fighters on November 3. That feat included 26, 699 individual flights (sorties) covering a nine year span including deployed operating locations in Alaska, Hawaii, Panama, Portugal, Israel and Thailand.

The 119th Fighter Wing maintains and operates Block 15 'A' model F-16s modified for air sovereignty and air defense operations. They are one of four USAF units still flying F-16A aircraft, and only one of two still using original Pratt and Whitney F100-200 engines.

Luke J. Gill, Lockheed Martin vice president, hailed the Fargo unit's achievement writing, "your achievement, while flying in the most arduous weather conditions in many varied operational exercises, deployments and challenging air defense missions, validates that the F-16, when coupled with professional aviators and maintainers, is the safest single engine fighter in history."

A handsome black walnut plague with gold detailing commemorating the 40,000 hour achievement was presented by Lynwood K. Westmoreland, Lockheed-Martin field product support manager for the western United States.

Lockheed-Martin builds and supports the F-16 family of aircraft. More than 3,800 are in service with the USAF, the US Navy and the air forces of 17 other allied nations around the world.


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