Tyndall Terror Protection

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It's the job of Major General Scott Mayes to make sure the pilots of the First Air Force are ready for whatever threat may head their way.

"I've got some very smart people here who can think through these things and come up with the right military course of action, should it be necessary," said Maj. Gen. Scott Mayes.

The First Air Force is in charge of monitoring the skies over the continental United States, which means should terrorists attack they would be the first to respond.

During September 11th, all of the fighter jets that took to the skies were under direct orders from the First Air Force.

"When the Department of Homeland Security decides to raise the level then it's up to this headquarters to decide what part, what action the United States Air Force takes to facilitate that," said Mayes.

But Mayes says it's not a good sign if he's scrambling fighter jets. Mayes says by the time things get to him, they've gone too far.

"When we're called to action it's because the bad guys have eluded our intelligence, beat our ground effort that has become so onerous to the American traveling public," said Mayes.

While you may not always hear about it here on the news, the First Air Force is very busy.

Mayes says since September 11th they've responded to more than 2,000 incidents involving aircraft in domestic airspace.