The fighter jet is an impressive machine, but this time does not look as impressive as the human flying it, Capt. Joseph Christensen. The person who took the photo from inside the refueling plane, Airman Mira Roman, managed to do it so skillfully that you could almost see the F-156 pilot wink, if his sunglasses weren’t in the way.
The 120th Fighter Squadron was born in 1923 and became the first Air National Guard unit to obtain Federal recognition. Flying F-16C Falcons, the unit takes on roles of homeland defense, but has also been deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which time they performed 500 combat sorties, and dropped 350 precision-guided weapons.
As for the F-16C, nicknamed Viper by its pilots, it is capable of reaching speeds of Mach 2 for as much as 2,620 miles (4,217 km). It can carry a large variety of weapons, from rotary cannons to rockets and bombs.
There are close to 5,000 of them in operation today, flying for the air forces of two dozen countries, including regular partners and allies like Israel and Turkey, but also smaller countries such as Romania or Greece.