Release No. 17-2
Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, Public Affairs Specialist
Wk. 413-568-9151 ext. 698-1299
Cell: (619) 665-4252
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer
Jan. 19, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
104TH FIGHTER WING DEPLOYS TO FLORIDA for Weapons System Evaluation Program exercise
(01/19/2017 - Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Mass.) - On Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, the 104th Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard will deploy eight F-15 Eagle aircraft and a C-130 Hercules to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida for approximately four weeks to participate in a Weapons System Evaluation exercise (WSEP) program. Over 150 Airmen will depart Barnes ANGB to take part in the exercise.
“Any future combat scenarios will be joint or coalition operations and so it is very important for us to have the opportunity to train outside of our own comfort zone,” said Maj. Brett “Dutch” VanderPas. “It is very possible in any future combat operations we would be fighting alongside other countries and other types of aircraft and you never want the first time to be in combat. It is invaluable training we do not get very often back home.”
The purpose of WSEP is to evaluate and validate operational missiles in realistic air combat scenarios. The 104th FW F-15 pilots will be able to train with live missiles and get Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) with the Canadian F-18s. The 104th FW will also integrate with the F-22s and T-38s out of Tyndall AFB along with F-35s out of Eglin AFB.
Additionally 104th FW maintenance and weapons crews will evaluate and validate every missile sequence. Weapons, maintenance, and operations support will be amongst the pilots training during WSEP as well.
“The harsh New England weather can adversely affect flight operations. Traveling to a warmer climate affords more flying opportunities,” said VanderPas.
The 104th Fighter Wing is a Wing assigned to the Massachusetts National Guard and Air Combat Command. The Wing is equipped with the F-15 Eagle and supports worldwide overseas operations, homeland operations, domestic response, security cooperation and international strategic partnerships. One homeland mission of the 104th Fighter Wing is the Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) - providing armed F-15 fighters ready to scramble in a moment's notice to protect the Northeast from any airborne threat. The Wing is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation's population and one third of the Gross Domestic Product.
Media is invited to attend the F-15 departure. Please RSVP to Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen by 9 a.m. Jan. 20, 2017 and be prepared to be at the Barnes ANGB gate no later than 10:30 a.m.