Tuesday, May 19, 2009

442nd A-10 pilots exercise air-to-air combat tactics with help from Texas reservists

F-16Cs 85-1479 and 85-1402 from the 457th Fighter Squadron, 301st Fighter Wing (AFRC), are parked by pilots at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, May 13, 2009. The 301st FW, based at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, flew sorties from Whiteman to assist the 442nd Fighter Wing in an operational readiness exercise. The 301st FW's F-16Cs flew air-to-air sorties against the 442nd FW's A-10 Thunderbolt IIs so A-10 pilots could train for combat sorties against a simulated enemy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Vertreese)

by Staff Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/19/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing's 303rd Fighter Squadron, welcomed quality training provided by three F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 457th Fighter Squadron, a unit in the 301st Fighter Wing, based at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, during May's readiness assistance visit by 10th Air Force inspectors.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, housed at Whiteman Air Force Base has a primary mission of providing air to ground support. The F-16s provided combat-oriented training by attempting to deter the 303rd FS A-10s from their designated targets during a combat exercise, May 14 and 15.

F-16 pilot Maj. John Oglesby, 457th FS, eagerly anticipated training in an unfamiliar area with personnel he doesn't operate with on a daily basis.

"They'll evade us and we'll chase them," Maj. Oglesby said. "We have the speed advantage but it can be humbling at low altitudes."

Maj. Oglesby, an Air Force Reserve pilot, who flies for Southwest Airlines as a civilian, talked about the challenges of being in a high-speed F-16 when faced with a much slower aircraft like the A-10.

"They simply can't run from us forever but when we get into lower altitudes they have the numbers to their advantage and you can find yourself getting filled with 30 millimeter rounds real fast," Maj. Oglesby said.

The 303rd FS mission entailed providing close air support for troops on the ground and combat search and rescue. Lt. Col. Brian Borgen, 303rd FS commander talked about the squadron's mission during the exercise.

"The focus of the ORI is to produce 111 sorties to do exactly what they would do in Afghanistan so we have to get them up there," Col. Borgen said. "It helps that we have a close relationship with maintenance from the leaders on down."

On top of an already difficult mission, the F-16s flying overhead provided added stress to the A-10's job by blocking them from their targets as well as attacking them.

"Even if they don't kill us they delay us--this is invaluable training," Col. Borgen said. "The F-16 is a very capable aircraft, they're going to be superior in the air-to-air role but it's good experience for us to gain. The air-to-air role is one of their primary missions."

The ORE is rapidly approaching and it is encouraging to witness the Air Force family pulling together for a common mission. With the help of 10th AF, (Fort Worth TX) inspectors on the ground, and F-16 "Vipers" roaring through the skies of Missouri, the Operational Readiness Inspection in October moves one step closer.

Source (including three additional pictures)

Related info:
F-16Cs served as opposing forces for 442nd Fighter Wing's latest operational-readiness exercise

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