Wisconsin Airmen help train tomorrow's pilots

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Paul Gorman
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
More than 100 Airmen with the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing and 378th Fighter Squadron returned to Truax Field April 16 following a two week aircraft deployment to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

While deployed, eight of the unit's F-16 Fighting Falcons served as realistic adversary aircraft for advanced training in weapons and tactics employment at the United States Air Force Weapons School.

Lt. Col. Jon Kalberer, 176th Fighter Squadron commander and deployed commander of the 115 FW, saw it as a continued example of the seamless integration of today's Air Force components.

"The ANG working with the active duty has been and will be the way of the future," Kalberer said.

The sentiment is reflected in the routine operations of the Madison-based unit, as ANG Airmen work side-by-side with their active associate counterparts on a daily basis. A number of Airmen have also opted to support the Air Force Weapons School through individual deployments as aircraft systems specialists.

Tech. Sgt. Harold Swyers, electrical environmental systems craftsman with the 115 FW spent three months as an electrical environmental swing shift supervisor at Nellis AFB prior to joining his unit for April's aircraft deployment.
"I was given the opportunity to train several new Airmen while supervising repairs to numerous aircraft on a highly intense flying schedule," Swyers said. "It was hard work, but an extremely rewarding experience."

By the end of the two-week deployment, the Wisconsin Airmen had generated 91 aircraft sorties, resulting in more than 130 hours of advanced air-to-air weapons and tactics training.

According to Kalberer, the experience was an excellent learning opportunity for his own pilots, as well as those attending the weapons school. A prime example of how working together can benefit everyone involved.

"We cannot operate independently," Kalberer said. "In an environment of constrained resources, we must continue to rely on every component of the Air Force to make the most lethal team in the world."