114th Closes Mission with Success
By Col. Michael A. Meyers, 114th Operations Group
/ Published March 31, 2010
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- On Feb. 18, the 114th Fighter Wing closed out over 26 months of Air Sovereign Alert around-the-clock duty at Langley AFB, Va. The Langley Alert Detachment started due to airplane conversions at other Air National Guard units on the east coast. It was a hybrid operation shared with the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard.
The 114th provided the airplanes and 75 percent of the alert pilots while the 158th supplied the onsite personnel and remaining pilot manning. It was a very lean undertaking that exemplified Air Force Smart Operations while supporting the number one mission priority of the Secretary of Defense.
With the exception of 8 pilot and 10 maintenance personnel "man years" and associated travel expenses, the 114th accomplished this mission with no additional overhead. During this time frame, the 114th provided four Full Mission Capable jets at Langley under the existing 18 primary aircraft assigned construct while still maintaining a baseline home station daily flight schedule of 8 turn 8. The 114th Maintenance Group's outstanding aircraft availability rate earned several enviable remarks from other F-16 units. The 114th averaged 250 flight hours per year in support of the ASA mission. Even with this significant "out of hide" commitment of aircraft and flight hours, the unit suffered zero months of reduced pilot readiness.
The 114th maximized cost efficiencies with a baseline template of one week pilot alert rotations. Further air travel expense savings were accomplished by aggressive use of Joint Operation Support Airlift Center. JOSAC's mission is to synergize operational travel requirements with available airlift. Flight hour savings were realized by the 114th Maintenance Group minimizing jet swap outs through optimized scheduled maintenance practices. The 114th Maintenance Group also utilized JOSAC travel to accomplish routine egress maintenance at Langley which cut scheduled swap outs down to one per month. This flight time savings was equivalent to providing one pilot's tactical flying requirement.
The 114th and 158th team successfully completed two Alert Force Evaluations over this period, ensuring this "no fail" mission was properly prepared and ready. Communication and flexibility between the 114th Maintenance and Operation Groups, as well as the 158th, were integral in the success of this "hybrid" solution. Strong cross cutting relationships and creative thinking were hallmarks in the execution of this 24/7 operation. The manpower and maintenance practices provided benchmark examples of AFSO-21 goals and underscored the professionalism and capability the 114th Fighter Wing brings to the total force.