334th Fighter Squadron Trains in Northeast

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Victoria Nelson,
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. - The 334th Fighter Squadron partnered with Pease Air National Guard Base June 6-16 for total force training over New Hampshire and northern New York.

The 334th Airmen, stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, fly and equip F-15E aircrew for sustained combat operations worldwide.

“We brought about 180 maintainers and 40 aircrew to Pease,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Murphy, the director of operations for the 334th FS. “It takes a lot to make the mission happen.”

The aircrews trained for two weeks as part of the 334th FS F-15E Basic course which includes surface attacks, defense counter air and in-flight refueling.

“They are learning how to strike targets on the ground from the aircraft,” said Murphy. “We are looking to push them out of their comfort zone. The mountainous terrain is something we can’t get in eastern North Carolina, so it was a great opportunity to test their limits and take them to a new, different operating environment and teach them how to be flexible in their day-to-day operations.”

Murphy said getting the Airmen out of their normal habit pattern was good.

“Here, the timing is different, everything looks different, the procedures to get in and out of the air space are different, so it develops airmanship, the ability to deal with challenges in dynamic situations in the airplane in real-time,” he said.

Master Sgt. Brandon Savage, the NCO in charge of weapons for the 334th FS, said the temporary duty assignment enabled the Airmen to simulate a large group deployment.

“As a training unit, we don’t often do large muscle movements like this to new locations,” he explained. “It is very helpful for us to pack up everything we have, transition to a different base and see how we make the mission work in that specific area.

“We have a lot of young maintainers and this is their first time ever leaving for a temporary assignment,” he added. “This has been a great training environment for them to learn what it takes to be prepared any time they need to leave in the future.”

Many new crew chiefs, electrical and environmental specialists, and avionics technicians practiced their craft on the flight line. They gained experience on an unfamiliar ramp while integrating with the Guardsmen at the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

Airman 1st Class Andrew Miller, an avionics technician with the 334th FS, worked directly with the pilots for the first time.

“It’s my first time actually talking to the pilots,” he said. “I’ll do it when we go home, but I got experience doing it here and it’s been really exciting.”

The team from the 334th also brought equipment and aircraft to Pease. The flight line housed an additional 10 F-15 Eagles alongside New Hampshire National Guard’s KC-46 and supported a full complement of aerospace ground and logistic readiness equipment.

The Airmen shared fuel trucks and petroleum, oils and lubricants (POL) equipment from Pease to refuel the jets and set up shop inside the LRS hangar.

“Everyone has been so flexible and great to work with,” said Staff Sgt. Gregory Gargano, an air transportation specialist with the 157th LRS. “The Airmen have worked closely with POL and have also been super helpful when we’ve had last-minute mission sets. They not only transitioned their workstation but helped us out to get the terminal ready so we can do our normal operations.”

The active-duty Airmen received support from multiple agencies across the base to make their transition as smooth as possible.

“We’ve had support from everyone,” said Savage. “Security Forces helped us guard the jets, the Logistics Readiness Squadron let us use their space and moved a lot of equipment for us, Comm let us use the radios, Ops gave us airfield driving classes at the last minute. It’s really been a team effort.”

For two weeks, the integrated teams flew from New Hampshire and coordinated with other Guard units from the Northeast to maximize their total force training and learn from each other.

“We are looking to give our Airmen the highest quality training,” said Murphy. “This TDY presented a unique opportunity to work with the 157th Air Refueling Wing here at Pease and the Green Mountain Boys up in Burlington (Vermont).”

“We integrated with the KC-46s, so they got training from us, and we got training from them,” he added. “We conducted some fighter integration missions with the F-35 so we could practice flying with other fighter aircraft. All in all, we have KC-46s, F-35s, F-15s and their crews all working together to get the best training in air space and on the ground.”