The operational headquarters of CTF Provide Comfort left nothing to chance during the airdrop missions. Fully armed flights of A-10s “Warthog” attack aircraft preceded the cargo planes, looking for any sign of resistance on the ground. Combat-configured F-15s and F-16s patrolled the skies above to negate any threat from the air. An E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft orbited the area to observe the situation and control the fighters, while KC-135 tanker aircraft provided aerial refueling.
When I served as the operations group commander of the 4404th Composite Wing (Provisional) at King Abdul Aziz Air Base, I was responsible for aircraft operating from four bases in Saudi Arabia, three locations in Kuwait, and one each in Bahrain and Oman. I was in charge of a variety of aircraft, including F-16s, F-15s, A-10s, C-130s, U-2s, and search-and-rescue HH-60G helicopters.