Realistic Wartime Training

  • Published
  • By Airman Tiffany Scofield
  • 174th Attack Wing

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NY -- The 174th Maintenance Group’s Forward Operating Location (FOL) provides flying units the ability to operate in realistic wartime training for pilots, maintenance and support personnel at Wheeler Sack Army Air Field (WSAAF) on Fort Drum, New York.

Airmen assigned to the FOL’s load crew are certified on the F-16, A-10, F-15 and soon the F-35 to perform tasks such as providing aircraft maintenance, cold and hot pit refueling, and live weapons loading.   The FOL has an annual production of 400 sorties and 300 combined live/inert weapons employed.

For 36 years, the FOL has provided Air National Guard units across the country with rapid aircraft turn-around times and the ability to load live munitions on several aircrafts.  The FOL’s support eliminates extended flight times to home station for rearming and refueling.

Additionally, over the past 10 years, the FOL has allocated, stored, built, loaded, and expended 1,902 live munitions.  During that same period, all other Air National Guard units combined expended 3,043.

The FOL was the first Air National Guard unit to turn and produce the airframes of the A-10, F-16, and F-15, including full live Mk-82 and HE rockets load-out during one single day.

Anyone involved with loading weapons must be experienced and have the ability to adapt to the mission and conditions at hand and be prepared for a variety of tasks for any given calendar time frame.  

The amount of time spent on training is reflected by the ability to change tasks and airframes as needed without sacrificing a focus on safety and productivity.  For the FOL, the two members of the load crew have a combined 36 years of loading experience and 10 years as part of the crew.