ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md., July 31, 2002 -- Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz visited with and thanked
the members of the 113th Fighter Squadron here for their
service in protecting the nation's capital since Sept. 11.
The squadron is part of the District of Columbia Air
National Guard. Minutes after the hijacked jet struck the
Pentagon on Sept. 11, the squadron had planes in the air
looking for a second jetliner that ultimately crashed in
"I've been meaning for some time to come out and see what
these guys are doing and express our appreciation,"
Wolfowitz said. "It's an incredibly important job, and it's
From Sept. 11 to Sept 22, 2001, the squadron flew 128 F-16C
sorties, logging in almost 400 hours. "That's two months
worth of flying in two weeks," said Air Force Lt. Col. Rudy
Kenzel, squadron maintenance officer.
Col. Mike Redman, 113th Air National Guard Wing vice
commander at Andrews, told Wolfowitz that the spirit and
morale of the Guardsmen was high. He said that before the
end of Sept. 11, more than 80 percent of the Guardsmen were
on duty without having to be called.
Wolfowitz said the squadron's mission has true strategic
importance, "because there is no question that Washington,
D.C., is the No. 1 target for the terrorists." He toured a
squadron hangar, ready rooms and the flight line. He met
with pilots, weaponeers and maintenance personnel and
thanked them for their service.
"Some of these guys were called "Weekend Warriors" before
Sept. 11, and they are doing a fantastic job," he said.