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1st Air Force remains vigilant

OVER THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- Two F-16 Fighting Falcons begin to roll into position for a rapid descent during an Operation Noble Eagle training patrol March 16.  The F-16s are assigned to the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

OVER THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- Two F-16 Fighting Falcons begin to roll into position for a rapid descent during an Operation Noble Eagle training patrol March 16. The F-16s are assigned to the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The commander of the Air Force organization responsible for defending the air sovereignty of the continental United States acknowledged reports in the open press of a heightened terror threat by saying his command "remains vigilant."

"We here at First Air Force and the Continental US NORAD Region are keenly aware of the national intelligence estimate and remain dedicated to disrupting and defeating those who wish to do us harm," said Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow.

As the Continental United States (CONUS) geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, the Continental US NORAD Region, or CONR, provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

"First Air Force, CONR and U.S. Northern Command, are working in close collaboration with DHS, FAA and other interagency partners to deter, disrupt and, when necessary, confront any attack planned against the homeland," said General Morrow.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 2,400 possible air threats in the United States, Canada and Alaska, and have flown more than 44,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

"As always, Americans and Canadians are standing shoulder to shoulder here at First Air Force to protect our homelands from any emerging threat," said General Morrow.

For more information, please contact CONR Public Affairs at (850) 283-8659, the on-call CONR Public Affairs Duty Officer (after 5 p.m. CST) at (850) 890-2661, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at 719-554-6889.