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Kingsley Field takes training on the road, visits Tucson for DACT

U.S. Air Force Colonel Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, preflights an F-15 Eagle in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 10, 2017.  The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

U.S. Air Force Colonel Jeff Smith, 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, preflights an F-15 Eagle in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 10, 2017. The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Schlotthauer, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Crew Chiefs, preflights an F-15 Eagle in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 12, 2017.  The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Schlotthauer, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 Crew Chiefs, preflights an F-15 Eagle in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 12, 2017. The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing walk out in the -13 degree weather to board a Texas Air National Guard C-130 in preperation for the wing's deployment to Tucson, Arizona January 6, 2017 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the Airzona ANG flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing walk out in the -13 degree weather to board a Texas Air National Guard C-130 in preperation for the wing's deployment to Tucson, Arizona January 6, 2017 at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the Airzona ANG flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle from the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, taxis to the runway  in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 12, 2017.  The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle from the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, taxis to the runway in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, Arizona January 12, 2017. The 173rd Fighter Wing spent two weeks training with the 162nd Wing, Airzona Air National Guard, flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --

Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing and five F-15 Eagles packed up and left the snow and below freezing weather of Klamath Falls, Oregon and spent two weeks in January training in the temperate Arizona desert. The 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, hosted the Oregon Air National Guard and spent that time flying dissimilar air combat training.


“The 162nd and 173rd have been flying together for years and years,” said Col. Jeff Smith, the 173rd FW Commander. “In many cases, they come up to train with us in the summer when it is really hot here ... and in the winter we tend to try and get away from the snow and ice ... so we come down here and get training for our instructor pilots.”


The F-15 pilots flew as adversary air, freeing up the F-16 student and instructor pilots to accomplish the training needed and allow them to continue graduating F-16 pilots.


“While at home we aren't really able to train much due to the snow and ice, so this is an opportunity for us to trade that student training and continue to produce as many fighter pilots for America as we can,” said Smith.


This training not only benefits the 162nd, but the 173rd pilots, maintainers, and support personnel as well. For the F-15 pilots, dissimilar air combat training shakes ups the routine and challenges their basic piloting and fighting skills. For the maintainers and support personnel, packing up their equipment and performing their skill sets away from home station presents challenges and opportunities for growth. 


“It’s something a little different then we do on a daily basis,” said Senior Airman Tyler Stanford, 173rd FW F-15 crew chief. “It helps us train to fight against our adversaries and gives a better mission capability.” Stanford also pointed out that training opportunities such as this facilitate a broader range of learning. 


Additionally, observing another unit’s operation and daily processes can encourage Airmen to bring back different processes and ideas to improve productivity and efficiencies within their own unit.


“I think we have great examples of how innovation can be sparked by going TDY or deploying;  so many little things are different that you can learn from and figure out how we can adapt them to what we do and improve our processes,” said Smith. 


Senior Airman Seena Barleen, 173rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, said she experienced this first hand. “I met with their transportation office, and it was fantastic to see how they do business every day and how it differs from what we do. I am taking back their continuity book and a few ideas to share with my supervisor.”


After a few weeks of training and expanding innovative thinking in the Arizona sunshine, the 173rd FW packed their equipment and people back up and headed back home to snowy Southern Oregon.