Total Force Integration brings active duty pilot to South Dakota

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Duane Duimstra
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Capt. Patrick Harrington, Air Force F-16 pilot assigned to the 378th Fighter Squadron, Truax Field, Wis., is currently stationed at Joe Foss Field and flying with the 175th Fighter Squadron. With the Total Force Integration program, Harrington is one of many active duty Airmen who are assigned to Air National Guard units around the country.

The purpose of the Total Force Integration program is to utilize the unique aspects that the Air National Guard provides to help train and give experience to new active duty pilots and aircrew.

"Active duty is encountering a problem where they cannot generate enough sorties and provide experienced instructor pilots to meet the demand," said Col. Quenten Esser, 114th Operations Group commander. "The Air National Guard provides the sortie generation capability and an experienced cadre of instructors and flight leads to help younger pilots gain experience."

Harrington, originally from Duluth, Ga., is on his first assignment after completing his specialized undergraduate pilot training.

"I've been here just over a year," said Harrington. "I will be here for another year and a half to two years to complete my three year tour."

While flying with the 175th Fighter Squadron, Harrington also serves as Assistant Chief of Standardization and Evaluation. He is an alert qualified pilot and will be contributing to our on-going Aerospace Control Alert commitment.

Harrington has built a good relationship with the full-time guardsmen he works and interacts with daily. However, he had to get used to working with traditional guardsmen and learn how the Air National Guard operates.

"With any new assignment, there is a steep learning curve," said Esser "The ANG's unique terms like DSG (drill status guardsman), traditional guardsman, technician, and AGR (Active Guard Reserve) are now part of Capt. Harrington's every day vernacular."

Having no experience working with the ANG before, Harrington is enjoying the more casual atmosphere that the South Dakota Air National Guard has.

"The casual approach that the Guard has is great," said Harrington. "It makes it easier for Airmen, officers and enlisted, to communicate with each other to get the job done and accomplish the mission."

Even though he is the only Active Duty Airmen currently assigned to the unit, Harrington has established a good relationship with his fellow Airmen and his experience here is something he will take with him as he continues his journey in the Air Force.

"My experience has been great," said Harrington. "I've had the opportunity to see a different side of the Air Force that I wouldn't have otherwise seen."