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Traditional Airmen given opportunity to showcase abilities

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Traditional members of the Air National Guard live two lives. While serving both the federal and state mission in their chosen military capacity, guardsmen are also avid members of the local community holding full-time jobs or attending school. Typically, active guardsmen maintain day-to-day operations for the base and flight line to ensure operational success. On Feb. 27, 2017, weekend warriors from the 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base Texas took the helm and demonstrated their capabilities during an aerial training mission. 

“Today was a max fly, max effort mission utilizing only our traditional force,” said Capt. Casey Vetter, 136th Maintenance Squadron officer in charge. “It’s significant because it really kind of proves that being a traditional Airmen, just like a full time guard or an active duty Airmen, really is a seamless transition. When we deploy you really shouldn’t even be able to tell the difference in the quality of training and execution.”

Members conducted two C-130H2 Hercules aircraft flights, one being a six-ship mission and the other being a four. All eight flights were fully manned by traditional guardsmen from the pilots down to the maintenance personnel. The full time Airmen were given the day off, giving the traditional members an opportunity to highlight their abilities. 

“We had guys out here a week prior, planning and getting everything prepared,” said Vetter. “There is a lot that goes into the process, and being here early allowed traditional folks an opportunity to see a part of the process that we don’t normally get to. Normally we show up on Saturday and are brought up to speed, whereas this time we really got to be a part of everything and executed the mission all on our own. We relied on the training and expertise of all of our subject matter experts here.”

The all traditional guardsmen flight was the second max-effort mission done by the 136th. The first took place in 2016. 

“This is the second largest fly they’ve done in the history of the unit,” said Capt. Adrian Burke, 136th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer in charge, “so this is big having the traditionals coming together to get them all off the ground. Outside of the normal coordination, there was a lot of effort from our traditional members coming in early and staying late to make sure that we had all six tails C-130H2 Hercules aircraft] locked and ready to go.”
The flights were a success, and leadership within the unit look forward to coordinating another all traditional guard flight to make sure that members are always at their best and able to fulfill the mission. 

“I think we’d all like to see this again,” said Burke. “It was a great deal last year when we did the max fly effort, and having it again gives us a greater purpose. Everyone that comes across the flight line when they get in in the morning wants to touch an aircraft and come to work to do what they wanted to do when they joined the Air Force. We got to do that together.”