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Governor Perdue Visits 116th Air Control Wing in Qatar

Thursday, November 24, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Perdue Participates in Briefings with Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – Yesterday Governor Sonny Perdue visited Georgia military troops assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing based at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Prior to arriving in Qatar, Governor Perdue and Governors Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas met at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. for a briefing with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Governor Perdue and the travel party also met with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to visit the brave troops of the 116th Air Control Wing,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I hope all Georgians who are at home with their families over this holiday will pause to remember these men and women who are sacrificing so much to fight the war on terror.”

The 116th Air Control Wing (ACW), based at Robins Air Reserve Base in Warner Robins, Georgia, is the first ever “blended wing,” a mixture of both air national guardsmen and active-duty personnel under one commander. The 116th ACW combined 2,000 Air Force personnel with 1,100 Air National Guard personnel to form a single integrated unit. Prior to being elected Governor, Perdue represented the Warner Robins area in the state Senate.

The 116th ACW is also the only Air Force unit operating the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), considered the most advanced ground surveillance

and battle management system in the world. Joint STARS detects, locates, classifies, tracks and targets ground movements on the battlefield, communicating real-time information through secure data links with U.S. Forces command posts.

On October 28, 2005, Governor Perdue attended the Changing of Command ceremony at Robins Air Reserve Base, and commended the men and women of the 116th.

“The successful integration of the 116th is a tribute to the leadership of its officers and the high level of professionalism, readiness and mission-focus maintained by every member,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Although other blended wings may emerge based on the model you have pioneered, the 116th will remain unique, because you were the first to make it work.”

Governor Perdue served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force prior to beginning his career as a veterinarian and a businessman.