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Portland Air Guard pilots play offense for Super Bowl 50

An F-15 Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing launches from the Portland Air National Guard Base. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

An F-15 Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing launches from the Portland Air National Guard Base. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD (PANG) BASE, Ore -- When Super Bowl 50 kicked off on Feb. 7, the only airborne threats fans had to worry about were deep passes -- thanks in part to the presence of pilots assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland Air National Guard Base.

"We work in coordination with other entities to ensure public safety during high profile events such as the Super Bowl," said Col. Paul T. Fitzgerald, 142nd Fighter Wing Commander. "While you watched the game, we watched the skies," he said.

The F-15 is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter that can penetrate enemy defense and outperform and outfight any current enemy aircraft. The weapons and flight control systems are designed so one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat.

Colonel Fitzgerald, a 26-year F-15 Eagle pilot, and his team of aircrew and aircraft maintainers in Portland are well-seasoned in the area of homeland defense and can provide a rapid response force for national defense purposes.

The 142nd Fighter Wing defends our homeland with F-15 fighter jets, guarding the skies from northern California to the Canadian border as part of Air Combat Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Their mission is to provide unequalled, mission-ready units to sustain combat aerospace superiority and peacetime tasking any time, any place in service to our nation, state and community.