October 30, 2008 (by SSgt. Phillip Butterfield) - A fighter pilot can only chase his friends around for so long until he craves a higher level of training.
F-16s from the 309th FS sit on a parking ramp at Hickam AFB on October 23d, 2008. The 309th FS deployed to Hickam to conduct dissimilar air combat training with the 199th FS. [USAF photo by TSgt. Niclas Svensson]
The 309th Fighter Squadron "Wild Ducks" and the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit got their opportunity for this Oct.18 when they went to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to engage the 199th Fighter Squadron's F-15 Eagles in dissimilar air combat training.
"We replicate various adversary aircraft by the way we fly, thus allowing the 199th FS
to practice their primary mission," said Capt. George Watkins, 309th FS director of weapons.
DACT allows two different types of aircraft to attack each other in mock combat.
"Dissimilar air combat training varies from one-on-one dogfights to four versus 'X' offensive/defensive counter air, where 'X' can be anywhere from two to eight aircraft," Captain Watkins said. "Because the 199th FS invited Luke to Hickam, we support them by flying as the adversary."
DACT tests and develops the skills of young pilots, while preparing them for the careers they've begun.
"Our Airmen are doing outstanding work," said Capt. Matthew Spears, 309th FS C flight commander. "The 154th Fighter Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard, has provided us an excellent facility that more than meets the needs of our 64-person detachment."
DACT tours of duty are not just for pushing the envelope of training but to get some of the new pilots ready for other temporary duty assignment and deployments they will encounter.
"TDYs in general are a good way of introducing younger Airmen to the operations tempo of the Air Force," Captain Watkins said. "However, this location is drastically different than what they can expect in real world deployments. This TDY gives our Airmen an opportunity to operate from a deployed location, with minimum manning, equipment and support. In this manner, the TDY is preparing our Airmen for what they may experience in the area of responsibility in the near future."