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F-16 fighters, personnel from Tulsa to train in Fort Smith

The 188th Fighter Wing’s Ebbing Air National Guard Base will host seven F-16C Falcons and 40 maintenance, operation and support personnel from the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s Tulsa-based 138th Fighter Wing beginning April 8. The F-16s and the Oklahoma Airmen who fly and maintain them are expected to remain at the 188th until mid-June.

While at Ebbing ANG Base, the 138th will conduct normal daily flight training operations and maintenance. While in Fort Smith, the 138th will also utilize the 188th’s Razorback Range located at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center, Ark.

Runway and taxiway construction at the 138th have hampered flying operations at the Tulsa unit. Utilizing 188th facilities will ensure the 138th effectively utilizes its flying hour allotment and maintains its pilot and maintenance personnel training currencies.

The 138th will utilize the remaining aircraft shelters vacated by A-10s divested as part of the 188th’s mission conversion. The 138th will share ramp and taxiway facilities. The Tulsa Airmen will share workspace with multiple 188th squadrons while at Ebbing ANG Base.

The 188th is familiar with the F-16. The wing flew F-16s from 1988 until 2007 when it transitioned to A-10s.

“The 188th is no stranger to F-16 operations and we’re happy to share our facilities with our Air National Guard brothers and sisters from the 138th,”  Col. Mark Anderson, 188th Fighter Wing commander and former F-16 pilot, said in a statement. “It will be exciting to see F-16s back out on our flightline even if just for a few months.”

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The 188th has four A-10C Thunderbolt II “Warthogs” remaining on station as part of the wing’s on-going mission conversion from fighters to an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, space-focused targeting and remotely piloted aircraft mission. The final two A-10s are slated to depart the 188th for Moody Air Force Base, Ga., June 7, 2014.

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