Monday, January 17, 2011

Common goals

Cadet First Class Kevin Fogler, a senior and receiver for the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons, tries his hand at the 917th Wing's A-10 simulator at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Dec. 23, 2010. Cadet Fogler and several other cadets made a visit to the simulator after a luncheon with local civic leaders and servicemembers at the Barksdale Club. The USAFA cadets were in town for the Advocare V 100 Independence Bowl, where they squared off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The USAFA Falcons won the contest 14-7. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston) Hi-res

by Lt. Col. Joseph C. Jones
Commander, 93rd Bomb Squadron

1/7/2011 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- When the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets matched up against the United States Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, it represented the culmination of post-season play for two outstanding centers of higher learning. No doubt, it was a hard fought game between two fine athletic programs; but, when it comes to the defense of this nation, Georgia Tech and the United States Air Force are avowed partners in the current conflict.

In modern warfare, situational awareness is everything. In combat SA is simple in its requirements and very complex in its execution. Distilled down to its most simple components, it is simply knowing where you are and where the enemy is located.

Georgia Tech, in conjunction with the United States Air Force, has collaborated in the development of Portable Flight Planning Software and Falcon View map overlay. Portable Flight Planning Software is the primary mission planning system for development of routes and tactical plans for combat operations. The software is used by a wide range of Air Force operators from F-16 fighter jets to B-52 bombers. Indeed, most combat aviators in the Air Force are user's of this combat planning system.

Falcon View adds the map overlay and provides a moving map display for most common tactical charts, maps and satellite imagery. For a combat operator, it's simple, when he views the mission on Falcon View in the aircraft, he sees his aircraft track along the planned route of flight on a real-time map overlay much like an airborne version of commonly used global positioning systems (GPS) for automobiles that have become almost indispensible in modern life.

The Independence Bowl has been an annual event in the Shreveport Bossier area since 1976. On several occasions, the 917 Wing, which consists of A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, has provided the flyby for the opening ceremonies for the event. This flyby was special in that the crew and aircraft are all combat veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The crew and even the aircraft were handpicked to participate in this special occasion. The aircraft is the famed "SAC TIME" and the history of her nose art can be traced back to the 1940s!

When the B-52 Stratofortress "SAC TIME" made her debut before the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl crowd Dec. 27, 2010, her crew was using Portable Flight Planning Software and Falcon View developed by Georgia Tech to execute the flyby for the stadium crowd and countless viewers on ESPN 2.

"SAC TIME" was built in 1961, and is aircraft 61-1029. She saw combat in Operation Enduring Freedom and has participated in every major combat operation in the Afghanistan Theater of Operation.

A "politically correct" version of World War II nose art that adorned the nose of B-17 bombers in the European Theater is visible on the nose of "SAC TIME." Her dedicated crew-chief, Master Sgt. Robert Slansky, selected "SAC TIME" as the nose art for his aircraft and modeled his wife for this historic depiction. "SAC TIME" carries 18 "Tomahawks" on her nose to mark the number of times she pressed the attack against our terrorist enemies.

The crew for the flyby was chosen to mirror the demographics of the current combat air forces and represents the Total Force Enterprise - the Regular Air Force and the Air Force Reserve servicemembers, who work side-by-side on a daily basis at Barksdale AFB.

Colonel Keith Schultz, 307th Operations Group commander, was joined by Lt. Col. Joseph "Doc" Jones, commander, 93rd Bomb Squadron, Lt. Col. Denis Heinz, assistant director of operations, 93d BS, Lt. Col. Chris Talbot, radar navigator instructor, Maj. Sam Smith, an 11th Bomb Squadron B-52 flight instructor, and Capt. Timothy Pierce, senior instructor radar navigator, who is also with the 11th BS.

When a crowd of football fans see an aircraft above their stadium, it could not have been possible without the work of dedicated Airman on the ground. Their support of flying operations makes it all possible. The crew chiefs for "SAC TIME" were Tech. Sgt. Jessie Brouillette and Senior Airman Teddie Hardy. The launch crew for this particular event was Sergeant Brouillette, and Staff Sgt. Jermey Vickers. Sergeants Brouillette and Vickers are Reservists assigned to the 917th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, while Airman Hardy is a Regular Air Force servicemember from the 2nd Bomb Wing Airman working with the 917th AMXS.

Assisting in the coordination of the flyby were Senior Airmen Aaron Kimmel and Sean Mitchell, who are Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, assigned to Det 1, 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, and Senior Airman Matt Roberts, who is a JTAC with the 122nd ASOS at Camp Beauregard, La.

This year's crowd at the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl will have a lot of memories to tuck away for years to come. They may remember the roar of the B-52 Stratofortress as it performed a flyby before the kick off. They may remember the USAFA interception that shut down the final Georgia drive with 14 seconds left on the clock. They may just remember a brisk winter evening in Shreveport, La., spent with family or friends watching the U.S. Air Force Academy's 14-7 win over Georgia Tech. But, for some it will be the memory of two college football teams who came together one day for battle. And, still for others it will be the memory of two colleges who came together to help battle our nation's enemies.


1 comment:

  1. I'm with the group here at Georgia Tech that created and maintains FalconView. Good playing in the game!