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115th Fighter Wing mission continues despite Winter Storm Draco

Chief Master Sgt. David Martin, 115th Civil Engineer Squadron, clears walking paths at Truax Field's 115th Fighter Wing as Winter Storm Draco continues to drop snow across the Northern Midwest Dec. 20. Although many local businesses and school are closed throughout the area, the 115th Fighter Wing remains open and ready for business. “The Wisconsin Air National Guard stands ready to execute our state mission, including domestic operations, by supporting relief efforts during natural disasters -- such as severe blizzards,” said 115th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeffrey Wiegand. “Our Airmen are ready, trained and equipped to respond on a moment’s notice.” Wisconsin Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue

Chief Master Sgt. David Martin, 115th Civil Engineer Squadron, clears walking paths at Truax Field's 115th Fighter Wing as Winter Storm Draco continues to drop snow across the Northern Midwest Dec. 20. Although many local businesses and school are closed throughout the area, the 115th Fighter Wing remains open and ready for business. “The Wisconsin Air National Guard stands ready to execute our state mission, including domestic operations, by supporting relief efforts during natural disasters -- such as severe blizzards,” said 115th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeffrey Wiegand. “Our Airmen are ready, trained and equipped to respond on a moment’s notice.” Wisconsin Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin is no stranger to snow.

But when a snow storm is big enough to merit its own name, Wisconsinites tend to listen.

Winter Storm Draco has already produced heavy amounts of snowfall across the Northern Midwest. The anticipation itself was enough for many businesses and nearly every school in the Madison area to close their doors Dec. 20.

But for Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, the mission must go on.

Part of that mission is being ready around-the-clock to respond to emergencies.

"The Wisconsin Air National Guard stands ready to execute our state mission, including domestic operations, by supporting relief efforts during natural disasters -- such as severe blizzards," said 115th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeffrey Wiegand.

Helping to make that happen are twelve members of the 115th's Civil Engineer Squadron who are working diligently to remove the snow around the base to ensure functionality and readiness continues.

"In preparation for a major storm such as Draco we constantly keep an active eye on the weather fronts moving in and start our plans a 3-4 days out," said Chief Master Sgt. David Martin, 115th CES. "My plow operators put themselves in the mix of the storm to ensure the wing staff can make it to work and have relatively clear driving and walking conditions."

Martin said CE personnel began organizing, training and preparing for the snow removal mission in September. During the snow season, which typically runs through April 1, about 12-17 snow removal operators will be called upon at any given time -- depending on the severity of each storm.

"They fully understand they will be operating in the worst of weather conditions for up to 12 hours a day," Martin said. "My gratitude goes out to each and every one of our operators for putting themselves last - often missing family events around the holidays so they can fully support the snow operations here."

No matter what mother nature may have in store, one thing remains constant.

"Our Airmen are ready, trained and equipped to respond on a moment's notice," Wiegand said.

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