Gamblers demonstrate F-16 mission

U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Neidrick, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) pilot, narrates an F-16CM Fighting Falcon demonstration at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Neidrick, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) pilot, narrates an F-16CM Fighting Falcon demonstration at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The 77th FS hosted a range day to inform 20th Fighter Wing families about the flying mission. During the range day, pilots performed aerial maneuvers such as high- and low-angle rocket passes and low-angle strafes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon flies over Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon flies over Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The 20th Fighter Wing employs F-16 airpower to provide close-air support and the suppression of enemy air defenses to maintain control of the skies in combat zones. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

A U.S. Airman stands in front of a flare during a simulated combat search-and-rescue mission (CSAR) at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

A U.S. Airman stands in front of a flare during a simulated combat search-and-rescue mission (CSAR) at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The CSAR mission was one of various demonstrations held during a 77th Fighter Squadron range day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon employs a rocket at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon employs a rocket at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The F-16 is a multi-role fighter aircraft that can reach approximately 1,500 miles per hour and exert 29,000 pounds of thrust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

Attendees of a 77th Fighter Squadron range day watch as an F-16CM Fighting Falcon performs aerial maneuvers at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

Attendees of a 77th Fighter Squadron range day watch as an F-16CM Fighting Falcon performs aerial maneuvers at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The fighter squadron invited 20th Fighter Wing families and two local youth groups to join them in experiencing some of the combat capabilities of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jack Howard, 77th Fighter Squadron pilot, gives a local youth group a tour around an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jack Howard, 77th Fighter Squadron pilot, gives a local youth group a tour around an F-16CM Fighting Falcon at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The children received a chance to look inside the cockpit while F-16 pilots explained details about the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Braxton Baker, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) pilot, talks about the F-16CM Fighting Falcon to a cub scout at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The 77th FS invited two local youth groups for a career day, where the children received a tour of the F-16 as well as the opportunity to go to Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., for a mission demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Braxton Baker, 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) pilot, talks about the F-16CM Fighting Falcon to a cub scout at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Sept. 22, 2017. The 77th FS invited two local youth groups for a career day, where the children received a tour of the F-16 as well as the opportunity to go to Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, S.C., for a mission demonstration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
Children of various ages step out of the 77th Fighter Squadron and onto a sunny flightline accompanied by Air Force fighter pilots. With wide smiles, the local youngsters bounce excitedly as they learn about the F-16CM Fighting Falcon, an image which can be found across the patriotic community of Sumter.

The 77th FS Gamblers hosted a career day for two youth groups at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and a range day at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, near Wedgefield, for the families of 20th Fighter Wing members, Sept. 22.

“It’s absolutely important that our younger generation know the opportunities available to them through not only the Air Force but the military itself and (for us) to give them exposure on what it is we do in the military,” said Capt. Scott Neidrick, 77th FS pilot and coordinator.

Neidrick also said it is important the children receive an opportunity to see various facets within the military, such as medical, maintenance and pilot careers.

After spending time on the flightline, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operators transported range day attendees to Poinsett to experience the combat capabilities of the fighting falcon.

“I think it’s very important for families to know what their spouse or family member in the military is doing to help contribute to the greater good,” said Niedrick. “I hope today was an opportunity for them all to see how their family member significantly impacts our mission and enables our pilots to get in the air and go ahead and do the job that our nation has called us to do.”

As Gambler Falcons soared through the air, their pilots deployed munitions. Audience members had the opportunity to listen as a narrator explained the tactical communication between the pilots during their training, which was being broadcasted over loudspeakers.

“When the aircraft came overhead, we first started out with a high-angle rocket pass, where they shot 2.75 inch diameter rockets at the conventional circle,” said Neidrick. “They then moved to low-angle rocket passes, where they did about six more rocket passes, and we got to watch the aircraft actually employ rockets.”

There was also a combat search and rescue event, where a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist simulated being a downed pilot and marked his position via flares.
By viewing a mission demonstration, some of the Airmen in attendance were able to leave with a better understanding of their role in the 20th FW mechanism.

“It’s very awesome to be able to see what the pilots get to do,” said Airman 1st Class Whitney Smith, range day attendee. “As a public health technician, I am in the deployment section. They come see us, we make sure they get all of their medical requirements finished before they leave. It’s cool to see that we take part in having them come down here and we get to see their mission after we accomplish our mission.”

The 77th FS Range Day aimed to educate members of the Shaw community by providing an opportunity for individuals to come together and learn about the mission. By maintaining community and family support, the 20th FW can continue to prepare rapid, ready Airmen to provide combat-ready F-16 airpower.