Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Civic tour at Nellis allows FAA, media to observe 188th's AEF deployment prep

by Capt. Heath Allen
188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer

11/2/2009 - NELLIS AFB, Nev. -- The Federal Aviation Administration is a vital component in the Air National Guard's success. All ANG units must possess a strong working relationship with the FAA to prosper. To help strengthen that partnership, the 188th Fighter Wing recently hosted a group of FAA employees and local Arkansas media on a civic tour Oct. 14-15 at Nellis Air Force Base, the site of a unit deployment in preparation for an upcoming Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF) rotation in Afghanistan.

The group flew on a KC-135K, provided by the 185th Air Refueling Wing, based out of Sioux City, Iowa. Individuals aboard the aircraft observed A-10C Thunderbolt II Warthogs from the 188th conduct aerial refueling over the Mojave Desert.

Once on the ground at Nellis, members of the 188th Fighter Wing along with the FAA and local Arkansas media toured parts of the 549th Combat Training Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., which provides support for Green Flag West.

"Community support is crucial to the Air National Guard's success," said Col. Tom Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander. "The FAA is a key player in everything we do. I feel it's important that they have a solid understanding of our responsibilities at the 188th and for them to understand we appreciate their efforts and value their contributions in helping keep the skies safe."

The tour received a briefing on the 188th's wartime responsibilities. The group also viewed weapons systems video from the A-10C's on-board camera, which shows ground target hits as well as the process involved in selecting and firing on targets.

The group toured the flightline and observed maintenance personnel conducting preflight inspections and minor aircraft repairs. The throng also watched 188th pilots suit up for night-flying missions and were briefed on the aircrew's life support equipment.

On Day 2 at Nellis, the FAA and media were treated to a guided tour of the 547th Intelligence Squadron's Threat Systems Facility, informally dubbed "The Petting Zoo." The facility earned the moniker because visitors can handle the equipment and climb inside the aircraft.

The Threat Training Facility is a collection of primarily Soviet anti-aircraft systems, aircraft and tanks seized, purchased and collected by the U.S. military to determine the threat level those systems pose to U.S. military aircraft and personnel.

While the primary objective was to observe the 188th's deployment preparations for the unit's upcoming AEF rotation, the tour furnished a glimpse into foreign weapons systems of the past and the rapid evolution of military technology.

Kelsie Moger, a reporter with KFTA Fox 24, operates the boom on a KC-135K October 14, 2009, during a civic tour to Nellis AFB, Nevada. The goal of the tour was to observe the 188th Fighter Wing's deployment preparations for the unit's upcoming Aerospace Expeditionary Force (AEF) rotation in Afghanistan in spring 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Heath Allen, 188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs) Hi-res


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