Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wing cuts ribbon on new 303rd FS building

by Maj. David Kurle
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/9/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Two years of anticipation came to an end Nov. 7, 2009, when the commanders of the 442nd Fighter Wing and the 303rd Fighter Squadron cut the ribbon on the A-10 unit's new operations building.

The $8.4 million facility was recently completed and A-10 pilots and operations support staffs are currently moving into the building, which boasts enhanced security, larger workspaces and spectacular views of the Whiteman Air Force Base flight line.

The larger facility was the result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission' s decision to add nine additional A-10s and 250 more people to the 442nd Fighter Wing.

The 303rd FS had been operating out of office space in the 509th Bomb Wing's T-38 hangar, now the A-10 pilots in the 303rd have a place of their own.

The facility was constructed with help from the Regular Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing, which serves as the host-unit at Whiteman, as well as engineering, contracting and construction support provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Kansas City District, commanded by Army Col. Roger Wilson.

The 303rd Fighter Squadron's parent organization, the 442nd Fighter Wing, is an Air Force Reserve Command unit based at Whiteman.

Senior leaders from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and the Kansas-City District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut the ribbon November 7, 2009, on a new operations building constructed for the 303rd Fighter Squadron, part of the 442nd Fighter Wing, based at Whiteman. The $8.4 million facility was recently finished and will house not only the A-10 pilots in the 303rd Fighter Squadron but also functions such as life support, intelligence, operations support and everything associated with operating the squadron's 27 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. From left to right are: Chief Master Sgt. Allan Sturges, 442nd Fighter Wing command chief; Col. James Mackey, 442nd Fighter Wing vice commander; Maj. Gen. Frank Padilla, commander of 10th Air Force; Mr. Jess Kellock, president of the Whiteman Base Community Council; Col. Mark Clemons, 442nd Fighter Wing commander; Lt. Col. Stephen Chappel, 303rd Fighter Squadron director of operations; Lt. Col. Brian Borgen, 303rd Fighter Squadron commander; Brig. Gen. Robert Wheeler, 509th Bomb Wing commander; Mr. James Rudy, engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers; and Lt. Col. Mike Fitzgerald, deputy commander of the Army Corps' Kansas-City District. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. David Kurle) Hi-res

Maj. Gen. Frank Padilla talks about the accomplishments of the 303rd Fighter Squadron during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the squadron's new operations building November 7, 2009, at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Maj. Gen. Padilla is the commander of 10th Air Force, part of Air Force Reserve Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. David Kurle) Hi-res

Maj. Gen. Frank Padilla, left, learns about the A-10 Thunderbolt II's smart-color-multi-function display from Capt. Chad Carlton, an A-10 pilot in the 303rd Fighter Squadron. General Padilla is the commander of 10th Air Force and he visited the 442nd Fighter Wing November 6 to 8, 2009, at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. David Kurle) Hi-res


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