First Air Force

Last week's North Korean missile launches had a lot of people thinking about airspace security over the United States. That's something the United States Air Force worries about all the time. One of the top officers responsible for that security says the First Air Force is always adjusting for crisis.

They're responsible for the eyes in the sky, eyes that protect our airborne borders. Col. Charles Campbell, Vice Commander of First Air Force, says September 11th, 2001 made internal security more of a priority.

Col. Charles Campbell said, "Our mission was really looking outward in the water and the approaches to the continental United States and specifically looking for actual military attacks."

Col. Campbell spoke to the local Kawanis Club on Wednesday, explaining that all defense of U.S. airspace is conducted and monitored right here in Bay County at Tyndall Air Force Base.

First Air Force uses FAA radar to keep a watchful eye on things and fighter jets that take to the sky when necessary. Prior to September 11th, 2001 it took an approval from the secretary of defense for them to get involved in many domestic matters, but most us would agree the world has changed.

"9/11 certainly showed us that an attack can happen, unfortunately within our borders, and that we need to adjust our use of our military forces to be prepared to respond to an attack that happens within the continental United States."

Will there be further adjustments to First Air Force's mission because of what's going on in North Korea?

“Certainly those capabilities that they are trying to develop are cause for concern."

Campbell says he'll leave that to his the bosses in the Pentagon for now.

First Air Force relocated to Tyndall Air Force Base 15 years ago from Langley Air Force Vase in Virginia.


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