December 4, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A handful of F-16s from Montana's ANG 120th Fighter Wing has begun using Davis-Monthan Air Force Base as part of the annual Operation Snowbird.
<b>186th TFS</b> Montana Air National Guard (Ronald Zuiderwijk Collection)
The F-16 fighter jets will be deployed in Tucson for two weeks for close-air-support training. They began their training last Saturday.
The fighter wing also will practice coordinating with combat forces on the ground, dropping practice and live munitions and evading simulated surface-to-air missiles.
The goal is to prepare the pilots for the conditions they would face if they deployed, the press release said.
The F-16s are participating in an annual training program that brings pilots and aircraft from cold-weather regions to Southern Arizona during the winter months.
Known as Operation Snowbird, the program allows visiting aircraft ranging from National Guard and reserve units to international allies to use D-M's flight line and bombing ranges to train for two weeks at a time.
While the visiting aircraft are based at D-M, the program is coordinated by the Arizona National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing, which is based at Tucson International Airport.