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Air Force, Navy combine for air combat skills training

Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., inspects an air speed indicator on an F-16C Fighting Falcon prior to flight.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission.

Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis., inspects an air speed indicator on an F-16C Fighting Falcon prior to flight. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

Airman Samantha Lynch, aviation machinists mate with the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, worked alongside her Air Force counterparts from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla.  As part of the exercise, the aircraft maintainers participated in a swap program that had Air Guard maintainers help launch the FA-18s and Navy maintainers do the same with the F-16Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

Airman Samantha Lynch, aviation machinists mate with the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, worked alongside her Air Force counterparts from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla. As part of the exercise, the aircraft maintainers participated in a swap program that had Air Guard maintainers help launch the FA-18s and Navy maintainers do the same with the F-16Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

Aircraft maintenance airmen from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. worked along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. Staff Sgt. David Bizefski, an F-16C Fighting Falcon crew chief from the 115th FW, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Sammy Holmes, aviation administration from VFA-2, share experiences during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Don Nelson, 115 FW/PA)

Aircraft maintenance airmen from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. worked along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. Staff Sgt. David Bizefski, an F-16C Fighting Falcon crew chief from the 115th FW, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Sammy Holmes, aviation administration from VFA-2, share experiences during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Don Nelson, 115 FW/PA)

Petty Officers 3rd Class Ernesto Eljaiek and Reynel Echemenia, NAS Key West hazardous materials specialists and fleet liaisons, works with 1st Lt. Christy Kasten, 115th Fighter Wing maintenance officer, on the hangar logistics as the wing prepares to complete their deployment.   The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

Petty Officers 3rd Class Ernesto Eljaiek and Reynel Echemenia, NAS Key West hazardous materials specialists and fleet liaisons, works with 1st Lt. Christy Kasten, 115th Fighter Wing maintenance officer, on the hangar logistics as the wing prepares to complete their deployment. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

F-16C Fighting Falcons sit lined up on the ramp at Naval Air Station Key West., Fla.   Pilots from the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. honed their air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

F-16C Fighting Falcons sit lined up on the ramp at Naval Air Station Key West., Fla. Pilots from the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. honed their air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson, 115 FW/PA)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. waits to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. waits to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. prepares to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. prepares to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. fly along side a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. as they prepare to be refueled in flight.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. fly along side a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. as they prepare to be refueled in flight. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Technical Sgt. Brian Stapley (left) and Technical Sgt. Matt Randall (right), avionics technicians with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., perform an operational check of avionics equipment on one of the units F-16C aircraft April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Technical Sgt. Brian Stapley (left) and Technical Sgt. Matt Randall (right), avionics technicians with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., perform an operational check of avionics equipment on one of the units F-16C aircraft April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Technical Sgt. Virginia Krauss, a knowledge operations craftsman, and Master Sgt. Aaron Thorenson, an aviation resource management craftsman, both with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., work toghether to file flight plans for the units F-16 pilots.  The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Technical Sgt. Virginia Krauss, a knowledge operations craftsman, and Master Sgt. Aaron Thorenson, an aviation resource management craftsman, both with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., work toghether to file flight plans for the units F-16 pilots. The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Senior Airmen Ryan Moll, a weather journeyman with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., takes a wind speed sample to compare against previous forecasts in an effort to give flight operations personell current readings for flight forecasting.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Senior Airmen Ryan Moll, a weather journeyman with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., takes a wind speed sample to compare against previous forecasts in an effort to give flight operations personell current readings for flight forecasting. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Technical Sgt. Virginia Krauss, a knowledge operations craftsman, with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., works to file flight plans for the units F-16 pilots.  The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Technical Sgt. Virginia Krauss, a knowledge operations craftsman, with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., works to file flight plans for the units F-16 pilots. The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. prepares to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. prepares to be refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while stationed at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Senior Master Sgt. Scott Edmonston, a tactical aircraft superintendant with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., supervises the preparation of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons prior to a morning launch.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Senior Master Sgt. Scott Edmonston, a tactical aircraft superintendant with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., supervises the preparation of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons prior to a morning launch. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Maintenance members of the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., participate in a Foreign Object Detection (FOD) walk to remove debris that may interfere with aircraft operations, April 30, 2009.  The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Maintenance members of the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., participate in a Foreign Object Detection (FOD) walk to remove debris that may interfere with aircraft operations, April 30, 2009. The 115th Fighter Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Technical Sgt. Mike Hall, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., documents completed checklist items while preparing one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for launch April 30, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Technical Sgt. Mike Hall, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., documents completed checklist items while preparing one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for launch April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Technical Sgt. Brian Stapley, an avionics technician with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., prepares to perform an operational check of avionics equipment on one of the units F-16C aircraft April 30, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Technical Sgt. Brian Stapley, an avionics technician with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., prepares to perform an operational check of avionics equipment on one of the units F-16C aircraft April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., performs flight control movement checks prior to launching one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons April 29, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., performs flight control movement checks prior to launching one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Master Sgt. John Schuemann, a tactical aircraft maintenance craftsman, signals to have his liquid oxygen cart picked up after loading an F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. The 115th FW Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Master Sgt. John Schuemann, a tactical aircraft maintenance craftsman, signals to have his liquid oxygen cart picked up after loading an F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. The 115th FW Wing participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is prepared for flight after a rain storm April 30, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. is prepared for flight after a rain storm April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis.,  prepares one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for flight after a rain storm April 30, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., prepares one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for flight after a rain storm April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by: Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Staff Sgt. Steven Ulrich, a food service apprentice with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., serves lunch to unit members April 29, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Staff Sgt. Steven Ulrich, a food service apprentice with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., serves lunch to unit members April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Capt.Tony Hart, an F-16 fighter pilot is assisted by Technical Sgt. Mike Hall, a crew chief, strapping into the cockpit of an F-16C Fighting Falcon.  Both are members of 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Capt.Tony Hart, an F-16 fighter pilot is assisted by Technical Sgt. Mike Hall, a crew chief, strapping into the cockpit of an F-16C Fighting Falcon. Both are members of 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. stand prepped and ready for the days flying missions April 29th, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. stand prepped and ready for the days flying missions April 29th, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson (left), a crew chief, performs flight control movement checks prior to launch as Staff Sgt. Dave Bizefski, a crew chief stands as fireguard April 29, 2009.  Both are members of the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Staff Sgt. Brian Gilbertson (left), a crew chief, performs flight control movement checks prior to launch as Staff Sgt. Dave Bizefski, a crew chief stands as fireguard April 29, 2009. Both are members of the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., inspects the nose gear on one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons prior to the days missions April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., inspects the nose gear on one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons prior to the days missions April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Petty Officers 3rd Class Ernesto Eljaiek and Reynel Echemenia, NAS Key West hazardous materials specialists and fleet liaisons, work with 1st Lt. Christy Kasten, 115th Fighter Wing maintenance officer, on hangar logistics as the wing prepared to complete its deployment April 29, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Petty Officers 3rd Class Ernesto Eljaiek and Reynel Echemenia, NAS Key West hazardous materials specialists and fleet liaisons, work with 1st Lt. Christy Kasten, 115th Fighter Wing maintenance officer, on hangar logistics as the wing prepared to complete its deployment April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Senior Airman Amanda Lowe (left), an engine tracking specialist and Staff Sgt. Alison Holmes an engine manager with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis.,  perform a flight debrief with aircrew April 29, 2009.  The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Senior Airman Amanda Lowe (left), an engine tracking specialist and Staff Sgt. Alison Holmes an engine manager with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., perform a flight debrief with aircrew April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

Airman Samantha Lynch, aviation machinists mate with the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, worked alongside her Air Force counterparts from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla.  As part of the exercise, the aircraft maintainers participated in a swap program that had Air Guard maintainers help launch the FA-18s and Navy maintainers do the same with the F-16Cs.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)
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Airman Samantha Lynch, aviation machinists mate with the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, worked alongside her Air Force counterparts from the Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. during a two-week air-to-air combat skills training mission at NAS Key West, Fla. As part of the exercise, the aircraft maintainers participated in a swap program that had Air Guard maintainers help launch the FA-18s and Navy maintainers do the same with the F-16Cs. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Dan Richardson)

An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., lands while FA-18 Hornets from Strike Fighter Squaron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. prepare for takeoff April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt Dan Ricahrdson)
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An F-16C Fighting Falcon from the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., lands while FA-18 Hornets from Strike Fighter Squaron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. prepare for takeoff April 30, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt Dan Ricahrdson)

Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., prepares one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for the morning launch April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.  The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt Dan Ricahrdson)
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Staff Sgt. Jose Irizarry, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wis., prepares one of the units F-16C Fighting Falcons for the morning launch April 29, 2009. The 115th FW participated in an air-to-air combat skills training exercise April 18 - May 2, 2009 along side their naval counterparts from Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., while deployed to Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt Dan Ricahrdson)

NAVAL AIR STATION KEY WEST, Fla. -- Setting aside their disagreements on which state has better cheese, pilots from the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wis. honed their air-to-air combat training skills along side their naval counterparts from the Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2), Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. during a two-week training mission at NAS Key West, Fla. 

The Wisconsin ANG unit's 176th Fighter Squadron put their F-16C Fighting Falcons to the test against FA-18F Super Hornets from the active duty Navy squadron. The training missions featured air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive and defensive combat tactics designed to simulate real-world operations. 

For nearly a week, More than 140 active duty naval airmen, pilots and support personnel shared a large hangar with 120 guardsmen from the 115th FW to support eight missions a day. 

"This is the culmination of our air-to-air training," said Lt. Col. Erik Peterson, 176th FS commander. "We typically only do this exercise once every year and a half and this allows us to simulate probably the most challenging scenarios we can." 

Most of the combat flying skills training is done back at the home station, however, the Key West air space is a unique environment that offers the ability to do things they would not normally be able to do at home. 

"Over the water here, we can go super sonic speeds at all altitudes up to 50,000 feet and that is typically hard to do with certain air space limitations over land," said Lt. Col. Peterson. 

The available air space for military training in and around Key West is more than 134,000 square miles that essentially is free of commercial air traffic. 

"Warfare today often relies upon being able to operate in a joint and coalition environment, so every event that can reinforce those skills makes us an even better defensive force," said Capt. Steve Holmes, NAS Key West commander. "Collectively, that is what makes NAS Key West the premier air-to-air training base in the Navy." 

The daily missions that pitted the Air Guard and Naval aircraft had each assumed a 'red' adversary or 'blue' defensive role depending on the scenario given. Each pilot flew at least one mission as either of these roles. 

"The F-16C provides simulation for us that, in some aspects, we can't do with the FA-18F itself," said Lt. Richard Lang, VFA-2 detachment officer-in-charge. "We get a tremendous amount of experience and exposure by seeing a different type of aircraft and just fighting something different than you do on a normal everyday basis." 

Watching the action from a dark room with large screens that would make video game enthusiasts jealous are pilots from both services. Inside the tactical air control facility, real-time interaction, as transmitted from equipment on the aircraft, is viewed, recorded and evaluated which translates into a scorecard of how each unit performed their scenario. 

In addition to the air-to-air combat training, the aircraft maintenance crews and administrative support people worked the exercise as if they were in a real-world deployed environment. 

As part of the exposure to a multi-service operation, the aircraft maintainers participated in a swap program that had Air Guard crew chiefs help launch the FA-18s and Navy plane captains do the same with the F-16Cs. 

"If we see something that they are doing that is a great idea we can bring it into our training and make us a better team," said Master Chief Petty Officer John Cloyes, VFA-2 maintenance master chief. 

The hangar facility where the units are housed during the exercises allows for all of the operations, maintenance and support elements to be co-located. This allows for maximum collaboration between amongst all participants both Lt. Col Peterson and Lt. Lang said. 

Not only is everyone working in close proximity of everyone else, they are all housed near each other as well. Off-duty time often requires carefully choreographed car pools for those who want to go downtown. 

"We are all within a once block area of each other and in the evening you see folks out walking around that you would not normally see if you were at home," said Maj. Matt Eakins, 115th FW maintenance operations commander. "Here we get the camaraderie of having to share a ride everywhere you go." 

Flying and maintaining the aircraft are essentially only two-thirds of the complete mission said Sen. Master Sgt. Steve Veers, 115th FW first sergeant. Lodging, food, transportation, military pay and communication are just a few of the essential services that support personnel provide he said. 

"We want to take care of all of the little problems so they can focus on fixing and flying the jets," said Chief Petty Officer Mike Grange, VFA-2 administrative chief. "It is our job to make sure that everything goes smooth."
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