132d Wing, Des Moines, Iowa --
One of the many mottos of the Air National Guard has been, “do more with less”. From May 22-26, 2017, members of the 132d Wing transient alert (T/A) volunteers demonstrated resourcefulness during a joint training mission with the 114th Fighter Wing of Sioux Falls, S.D.
The training mission evolved out of a conversation between transient alert director Master Sgt. David Bingham and members of the base safety team. The transient alert team is comprised of former aircraft crew chiefs that volunteer to support the Sustainment Training Center (STC) at Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center as well as perform complimentary “gas and go” to cross country aircraft. To maintain current certification on fighter aircraft, refresher training would be required.
Bingham arranged the training with Senior Master Sgt. Chris Novak of the 114th FW Sioux Fall’s aircraft maintenance group. The 114th FW currently operates the F-16C Fighting Falcon block 40 aircraft at Joe Foss Airfield located in Sioux Falls, S.D. The refresher training included intake and exhaust inspection, launch and recovery, tow certification and an EGRESS refresher course. T/A volunteers Senior Master Sgt. Robert Shepherd, who is currently the 132d Wing’s public affairs superintendent and Staff Sgt. John Costello, who is a member of the petroleum, oil and lubricant shop, joined Bingham in the training exercise.
“This was a great partnership between Sioux Falls and Des Moines,” said Shepherd who was an F-16 crew chief for 16 years before the mission change. “It was great to be working on F-16s again.”
The Sioux Falls maintenance crew chiefs were very accommodating and provided excellent information on recent changes to the F-16. The base facilities were beyond expectations and provided many ideas of ways to improve the T/A operation at the 132d Wing. Although the Sioux Falls base is laid out noticeably different than the Des Moines Air Guard base, the various shops still have their unique individual identities and pride. No less than four former 132nd Fighter Wing pilots currently fly for the Sioux Falls “Lobos”. During the Wednesday morning sorties, Shepherd performed crew chief duties for former 132d pilot Lt. Col. Woody Bartelma’s aircraft. The connection between the two units runs much deeper.
Sioux Falls, as well as the units located in Sioux City, IA and Lincoln, Ne all were associated with the 132nd F.W. sometime between 1942 and 1970. In more recent decades the “Lobo’s” have been involved in various other training exercises with the 132nd FW. In addition to the training accomplisher for T/A, the 114th aircraft ground equipment shop an inspection on a critical piece of T/A equipment that was transported to Sioux Falls by Bingham. The 114th also recently worked with our former sister units of the 138th FW from Tulsa, Ok and the 180th FW from Toledo, Oh with a deployment to Jordan in 2013.
In addition to the launch and recovery of jets, Shepherd was able to train and network with the other Sioux Falls public affairs office. With more training and mission partnerships, Shepherd said they will increase the continuity and collaboration which will help all the units work together better.