Release No. 17-17
Lt. Col. Brenda Hendricksen, Public Affairs Officer
April 20, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
104th Fighter Wing to Conduct Critical Night Flying Training
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WESTFIELD, Mass. - The 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard is scheduled for training flights at night beginning Monday.,April 24 – April 27, 2017. Area residents may see or hear F-15 fighter jets taking off and landing until about 11:00 p.m. this week.
The missions will launch from Barnes-Westfield Regional Airport in Westfield, Mass. F-15 Eagle Pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct night operations as a part of their overall readiness training. The 104th Fighter Wing appreciates the continued support from the citizens of Massachusetts as we continue to train in support of our mission.
We do not want to alarm the residents around the local area who may be startled by the increase in aircraft activity during the evening hours. The evening missions are a critical part of our required reoccurring pilot training. The night training ensures our pilots are ready to respond to any airborne threat in the Northeastern United States, at any time, in any condition.
“Our Homeland Defense mission is a 24-hour mission and as such we need to be trained and ready to respond both during the day as well during the night at a moment’s notice,” said Maj. Brett Vanderpas of the 104th Fighter Wing Operations Group.
The pilots will be training on critical homeland defense and wartime aviation skills to defend our nation against terrorist threats and overseas conflicts. The required training is critical to assure our Airmen are prepared for homeland defense and wartime missions.
We would appreciate your help in sharing this news, to help alleviate the local residents from being alarmed. With our 24/7 alert posture, our Airmen could respond to an airborne threat at any time protecting one quarter of the nation's population and over one third of the its Gross Domestic Product.
We often do not have the luxury of advance notice, however, when we can prepare for training missions such as these, we will try to share as much information as we can. Thank you for your continued support.
The 104th Fighter Wing is equipped with the F-15 Eagle. One mission of the 104th is Aerospace Control Alert (ACA), providing armed fighters ready to scramble in a moment's notice to protect the Northeast from any airborne threat. The unit is responsible for protecting a quarter of the nation's population and over one third of the Gross Domestic Product.