Lobo Summit prepares 114th FW for future AEF deployment

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  • 114th Fighter Wing

The 114th Fighter Wing deployed more than 90 Airmen and nine F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft for Lobo Summit 2018 training deployment to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA, Jan. 4-19.

Lobo Summit was a temporary duty assignment preparing the 114th FW for the unit’s future Air Expeditionary Forces deployment (AEF). 

Some of the main points of this high-level collective training included: low level flying in moun-tainous regions, close air support (CAS) training, and night flying training with new digital eye-piece add-on system.

“Lobo Summit was a great opportunity for senior maintenance personnel to pass down knowledge to the next generation maintainers,” stated Chief Master Sgt. Blake Parke, NCOIC for the deployment and 114th Maintenance Operations Flight superintendent.

“We had relatively inexperienced crew on this trip. There was one or two people in each shop that had lots of experience and for the rest it was only their first or second deployment." contin-ued Parke.

Since many members of the teams are part-time, or traditional, Guard members, they aren’t given the opportunity to put in a lot of hours working directly and consistently on the aircraft.

"The training we get from these trips is unmeasurable. Our members get more training and ex-perience out of a two week trip than many will see in an entire career of Guard drills." stated Parke.

As well as the maintainers, the pilots of the unit benefited from this training. Working with Tacti-cal Air Control Party (TACP) specialists during their flying missions, they simulated air attacks with CAS. The TACP’s primary role is to direct combat strike aircraft against enemy targets.

“This terrain, which is somewhat mountainous, reflects similarly to the area of responsibility that the 114th will deploy to for our AEF deployment coming up.” said Maj. Jeremy Doohen, 114th Operations Group pilot.

Along with the benefit of the mountainous terrain, the pilots were able to practice their night flying skills with the use of a new digital eyepiece (DEP) attached to their helmets. This new technolo-gy works with a pilot’s night vision goggles to essentially turn night into day.

“It’s taking a capability of daytime and incorporating it into night. Is there still room for improve-ment, absolutely, but it’s a step in the right direction.” stated Doohen.

Realistic training such as Lobo Summit improves the readiness of the Air National Guard and develops leaders who are able to support joint force requirements here and around the globe.