An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Feb. 26, 2024

Wisconsin Airmen Complete First F-35 Training Deployment

By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Gorman and Master Sgt. Mary Greenwood, 115th Fighter Wing

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – More than 150 Airmen assigned to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing completed the Weapons System Evaluation Program’s Combat Archer exercise Feb. 23.

The exercise was the first training deployment of the unit’s F-35A Lightning II aircraft, providing pilots and maintenance personnel with experience handling and firing live air-to-air munitions.

“WSEP is a formal evaluation of a unit’s ability to conduct air-to-air live fire missions,” said Capt. Alexander Abbott, the 115th Fighter Wing project officer for WSEP 24.05. “Beyond evaluation, live-fire air-to-air experience against threat-representative targets boosts confidence and provides critical feedback to the unit and missile engineers.”

Tech. Sgt. Patrick Joyce, a weapons expeditor with the 115th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, saw distinct advantages to training outside Truax Field.

“We learn to think on the fly with our live training exercises. This is the first time that we’re loading live munitions on the airframe,” said Joyce. “We’ve had to work through a number of procedures different from those required on our prior F-16s, but I think those experiences help shape us into better loaders and better technicians.”

The WSEP exercise also allowed Madison based F-35 pilots an opportunity to practice the tactical departure techniques used in high threat environments.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Koob, commander of the 176th Fighter Squadron, high-speed takeoffs are essential to achieve safe ejection altitudes while minimizing ground-to-air threats rapidly.

“We want to get as high as fast as we can and that involves an afterburner takeoff,” said Koob. “In Madison, we don’t practice afterburner takeoffs to minimize noise, resulting in takeoffs that look more like an airline departure.”

Participation in Combat Archer allowed both full-time and traditional guardsmen to complete a deployment simulation from beginning to end.

“This two-week exercise is no different than if we were to go overseas,” said Koob. “We have to exercise that muscle every now and then to make sure we know how to get out the door when tasked to support worldwide contingencies.”



Related Articles
Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Stubbs, the Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory White, senior enlisted leader of the Arkansas National Guard presented the Vanguard award to Master Sgt. Greggorey Brewer, at the Enlisted Association of Arkansas National Guard and the National Guard Association of Arkansas (AANG/NGAA) Joint State conference Saturday, Feb. 24 to acknowledge his extraordinary acts of heroism.
Heroic Airman Receives Vanguard Award for Life-Saving Actions
By Maj. Jennifer Gerhardt, | Feb. 26, 2024
FORT SMITH, Ark. – In a remarkable display of courage and quick thinking, Master Sgt. Greggorey Brewer, a readiness and emergency manager with the 188th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), has been honored with the prestigious...

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brendan Wu, 163rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron remotely piloted aircraft crew chief, assigned to the California Air National Guard at March Air Reserve Base (ARB), Calif., marshals  an MQ-9 Reaper assigned to March ARB, after landing for the first time at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 14, 2024. This cross-country mission required units from both active duty and reserve components to work jointly in order to execute new launch and recovery capabilities for the MQ-9 Reaper, showcasing the total force’s always ready posture for Agile Combat Employment missions.
MQ-9 Reaper Lands at Shaw AFB in Historic First
By Master Sgt. Dillon White, | Feb. 26, 2024
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Airmen from the 50th Attack Squadron and Air National Guardsmen from the 163rd Attack Wing conducted a historic first Feb. 14, by successfully landing an MQ-9 Reaper at Shaw Air Force Base under...

Graphics: Patch for William Tell 2023. The Air Force’s first William Tell air-to-air competition in almost twenty years takes flight at the Air Dominance Center, Savanah, Georgia, September 11 to 15.
Air Force Announces Winners of William Tell 2023 Competition
By ACC Public Affairs Staff, | Sept. 21, 2023
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The Air Force wrapped up its first William Tell Air-to-Air Competition in 19 years on Sept. 15, at the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Georgia.Airmen from across active and guard wings participated in...