Air Force

December 21, 2012

Ducks train in high desert

Tags:
Staff Sgt. C.J. HATCH
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


One Luke Air Force Base fighter squadron spent last week in a cold, unforgiving high desert environment doing training with remote piloted aircraft, F-22s and German Tornadoes.

The 309th Fighter Squadron might not have actually been cold, but they did spend Dec. 7 through 14 flying and training in the 5,000′ elevation high desert of the White Sands Missile Range with Airmen at Holloman AFB, N.M.

“We packed up 182 personnel and 18 aircraft from the Ducks squadron and aircraft maintenance unit and took them to Holloman,” said Lt. Col. Stephane Wolfgeher, 309th FS commander.

The week in New Mexico had benefits and challenges for members of the 309th.

“Our team did a great job overcoming challenges, just as expected,” said Maj. Matthew Warner, 309th FS director of operations. “In less than 30 days, our lead planners ensured everyone had a place to stay and food to eat. On our second day, there a strong cold front moved through during the night and our ops facility didn’t have any heat, so the building was in the 50s all day long. We also had some communications difficulties making computer access hard to come by. Instead of complaining about the cold or the lack of planning tools, everyone shook it off and got to work. We put 24 jets in the air daily, trained six students and kept a positive attitude.”

Holloman Airmen also helped with challenges that arose any way they could.

“In addition, the Airmen from the 49th Fighter Wing were phenomenal hosts,” Warner said. “They gave us a facility to work out of, excellent hangars for the aircraft and did everything possible to help us overcome the challenges we experienced.”

When the training opportunity came up, the Ducks were the perfect choice.

“Our last basic course of 14 students graduated Nov. 30, and the following class began Wednesday,” Warner said. “Since our student load decreases during this timeframe, it was a great opportunity to ‘test the waters’ out there at Holloman. This trip used five training days. Two days to get the jets here and back, two down days to prep the jets to go, and one day after our return to allow maintenance to recover them. This has driven us to start our next B-course one day later than what we had originally planned, but we are confident we will make up for lost ground in January.”

While at Holloman, the 309th trained with diverse aircraft and also helped the 49th FW understand having F-16s there.

“Though Holloman has remotely piloted aircraft, F-22s, German Tornadoes and F-4 targeting drones, it has been some time since such a robust flying schedule has taken place here,” Warner said. “We flew 24 sorties, each day. With three runways and such significant aircraft variations, bringing the F-16 operation to Holloman en masse gives a little insight into how the F-16 training business works. In return, we get a quick look at what major successes and challenges may be in store for the future.”

Flying at a different location didn’t stop the Ducks from continuing the training for the few students they had.

“We brought our students along,” Warner said. “So we flew the same student training as we would at home, with the majority of those students needing air-to-air training. We also provided a weapons instructor course spin-up ride for Capt. Thomas Hayes, who will be the next 56th FW pilot to represent the Thunderbolts at Air Force Weapons School. With the remaining sorties we accomplished continuation training for our assigned instructor pilots in all phases of flight.”

By the time the Ducks left Holloman, they had flown 132 sorties worth more than $1.36 million in training, dropped GPS guided weapons, laser-guided bombs, and shot thousands of 20mm rounds.

They also provided eight incentive rides for deserving 56th FW team members and about 10 familiarization rides to 49th FW Airmen.

“I could not be more proud of the effort the ops and maintenance professionals have put into making this TDY a success,” Warner said. “We couldn’t have been prouder to represent the wing.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Hecker assumes command of 19th Air Force

Courtesy photo Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, presents the unit guidon to Maj. Gen. James Hecker during the 19th Air Force assumption of command ceremony June 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolp...
 
 

Air Force News – June 26, 2015

Alaska Firefighters from the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson recently assisted with the Division of Forestry’s efforts in containing the Sockeye wildfire near Willow. The fire is estimated to cover more than 7,000 acres of land.   Virginia The 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games opened June 19 with about 250 athletes...
 

 

People First – June 26, 2015

EPME enrollment notifications begin The Air Force Personnel Center recently initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified. In July 2014, the Air...
 
 

Air Force News – June 19, 2015

Poland In support of Baltic Operations 2015 June 5 through 20, a team of Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron deployed to Powidz Air Base, maintained communication requirements for the Air Force at the installation. Baltops is a multinational maritime exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability. Southwest Asia Since Aug. 8, coalition airpower...
 
 

People First – June 19, 2015

Selected MSgt evals close out Sept. 30 Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve master sergeant and master sergeant-select enlisted performance reports will now close out annually on Sept. 30. In addition, as of June 3, , master sergeants and selects will no longer receive change-of-reporting-official EPRs. Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>