Spads and Leaping Tigers train, stand ready

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Gross, 301st Fighter Wing public affairs director

F-16 pilots from the 457th and 24th Fighter Squadrons assigned to the 301st Fighter Wing, U.S. Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, conducted a two week training exercise over the north Texas skies in order to accomplish established training objectives from August 3 through August 10.

The 24 FS is an active associate of the 301 FW where Active Duty and the Reserve component integrate to accomplish the wing’s flying mission. Multiple series training exercises like these enhance test performance and provide rare training development opportunities as well as strengthen bonds between the Reserve and Active Duty Airmen as they perform together just as they would in a deployed environment. 24 FS Commander Maj. Ryan Busbey explained how this particular training enabled the 301 FW to achieve combat readiness.

“The Counter Fast Inshore Attack Craft (C-FIAC) training for the F-16 Combat Air Force are extremely rare and provided us an opportunity to hone a very unique capability to Combatant Commands not traditionally practiced or inherent within U.S. Air Force F-16 mission sets. The 457 FS Department of Weapons team coordinated and provided both basic and complex scenarios which mimicked asymmetric threats to friendly naval assets,” said Busbey. “Overall, this training was a huge success and provided some prevalent lessons learned for us and we are grateful to the local and Possum Kingdom Lake communities as well as the Dallas Fort Worth Air Traffic Controllers for enabling us to have this rare training opportunity.”

This partnership of force in optimal training is not exclusive to the pilots in the air but also to the Airmen on the ground. Various units within the 301 FW Operations and Maintenance Groups combine to ensure they meet the wing’s mission—to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen. The wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen must consistently maintain various qualifications and readiness items to meet individual mission-sets at any time.

 “Our primary mission within the 301 FW Aircrew Flight Equipment section is to provide aircrew members safe and effective flight equipment to increase performance” said Master Sgt. Rudy Pannacci, aircraft flight equipment technician. “Exercises and training, like the past two weeks, keep us current to handle any challenge that comes our way.”

As present day health considerations and hurdles continue, the organizations within the 301 FW continue to seek innovative ways to stay current and mission-ready.

“Our goal will be to continue to sustain human life during flight operations and we can only hope we provide that piece of mind to aircrew members should they face emergency situations,” said Pannacci. “We have a plan, with mitigations measures in place, to train our team to meet our no-fail mission despite COVID-19.”

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