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From South Dakota to around the world

By Staff Sgt. Duane Duimstra | 114th Fighter Wing | Feb. 6, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The 114th Fighter Wing is a small unit, but their efforts span the globe. Airmen of the South Dakota Air National Guard traveled around the world accomplishing missions set before them.

Within a 12-month period, the 114th Fighter Wing deployed as part of an Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) package, traveled to support ongoing operations around the world, and provided assistance following a natural disaster.

During the AEF rotation, members of the 114th Fighter Wing maintenance and operations groups deployed to three different countries in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. Airmen from the 114th Security Forces Squadron were also deployed to different locations. These deployments saw Airmen travel to five different countries throughout Europe and Southwest Asia.

The 114FW Airmen not only deployed and traveled to well-populated places, but also to more remote locations. Chief Master Sgt. Troy Erlandson, 114th Fighter Wing occupational safety manager, traveled to Antarctica. He was attached to the 109th Airlift Wing out of Glenville, New York. Erlandson worked directly for Joint Force Antarctica to support the research mission at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

“I was part of the team that was in charge of the overall safety of the mission from the flight line to supply,” said Erlandson.

This was Erlandson’s second trip to McMurdo Station where he ensured safety procedures were followed at the station as well as three airfields in the area.

South Dakota Air National Guard Airmen also volunteered to help with the clean-up efforts at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., after it was hit by Hurricane Michael. Three Airmen from the 114th Maintenance Squadron Munitions Element volunteered to help.

“We got to learn and experience new things when we helped during the clean-up,” said Senior Airman Brianna Williams, 114th Maintenance Squadron munitions journeyman.

During the hurricane clean up, they were able to clear the bomb dump quickly, efficiently and safely with the help of both active duty and National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, as well as contractors. They were also able to account for 99% of the munitions in the month they spent there.

“This was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Senior Airman Timothy Peterson, 114th Maintenance Squadron munitions line control.

In such a short amount of time, South Dakota Air National Guard Airmen traveled the world and made lasting impacts. From supporting contingency operations to helping with natural disasters, the 114th Fighter Wing’s reach is seen and felt across the world.