May 25, 2006 (by Hilltop Times) - Nearly 250 personnel from the 1st Fighter Wing from Langley Air Force Base, Va., deployed to Hill AFB for nearly six weeks while Langley's runway is closed for repairs.
An F-22A Raptor from Langley Air Force Base, Va., refuels with a KC-135 Stratotanker from McConnell AFB, Kan., during the Raptor's first operational mission Jan. 21. The mission was flown in support of Operation Noble Eagle. The KC-135 was flown by the 18th Air Refueling Squadron. The F-22A was with the 27th Fighter Squadron.
The various deployed Airmen include F-22A Raptor pilots, maintenance, intelligence as well as communication personnel among others.
This trip will provide the Airmen on each level of flight operations a thorough opportunity to practice their wartime capabilities in a different environment.
Langley's last deployment to Hill Air Force Base in October, 2005, was a huge success with the logistical, maintenance and infrastructure that already exists here.
At Hill, F-22A pilots can practice their unique flight tactics and drop inert Joint Directed Attack Munitions (JDAMs
) at the Utah Test and Training Range.
"The trip will provide a unique training experience for the Airmen working with, and in support of, this dominant aircraft," said Lt. Col. Dirk Smith, 94th Fighter Squadron commander. Taking the operational practice to a base other than Langley will give each person involved a chance to perform in a deployed mode, since the comforts of home -- to include back-up plane parts or communication assets -- are not available. "We are excited about this deployment and I have no doubt that the realistic training and experience we receive at Hill will be invaluable," Colonel Smith said. "When we return home, we will be better prepared to approach a wartime mission."