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Climbing Toward 50,000: The Air National Guard-led Operation Noble Eagle flew 175 sorties in March, making the operation total number since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 49,000, as of April 1. Under the direction of 1st Air Force/Air Forces Northern, the operation has fighters, tankers, and reconnaissance aircraft on alert and on call around the nation and often calls upon the Civil Air Patrol, the one-and-only US Air Force auxiliary. In March, air reserve components once again flew the bulk of the sorties, both fighter and tanker. During a recent visit to 1st AF at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Air Guard chief Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley presented Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, commander of the numbered air force and AFNORTH, the Outstanding Unit Award, acknowledging “a job well done” by a “great organization made up of great people.” (See the March ONE statistics in Climbing Toward 50,000.) (1st AF report by Capt. Laura Ropelis)