An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

148th FW participates in WSEP 24.04

  • Published
  • 325 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, participated in the latest iteration of the Weapons System Evaluation Program, WSEP-East 24.04 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Jan. 16-19, 2024. WSEP is a joint program designed to evaluate air-to-air and air-to-ground live fire weapons employment for combat aviators.

The 148th FW is a North American Aerospace Defense Command Aerospace Control Alert-trained flying unit that conducts air sovereignty missions, as tasked, throughout North America. In this capacity, the unit’s F-16 Fighting Falcons are ready to detect, deter, deny, or if necessary, defeat any airborne threats to the U.S. and Canadian airspaces.

“Being an alert [trained] unit, we provide [air] defense to multiple locations throughout the U.S.,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mitchele LaCoursiere, 148th FW alert chief enlisted manager. He explained that, at a moment’s notice, the pilots need to be ready to jump into their jets and go, and that they are constantly training to ensure they maintain a high level of readiness.

WSEP training complements the 148th FW’s commitment to readiness as Tyndall’s location provides easy access to 180,000 square miles of training airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, where live munitions can be fired.

“WSEP is a huge learning experience for us. Participating in the live-fire events for the first time in over 10 years is beneficial to not only our pilots, but our maintainers as well,” said LaCoursiere. “Practicing like this in a controlled [environment] gives us the chance to receive feedback and identify areas of improvement from our engineers.”

WSEP provides a unique training experience within the Department of Defense that benefits a multitude of mission sets as WSEP is one of the only chances for the 148th FW to practice with live fire.

“I hope we get more opportunities to train in live firing conditions because it gives us more confidence in our capabilities,” explained Senior Airman Jacqueline Busch, 148th FW weapons technician. “Pound for pound, it’s one of the best aircraft around and we’re proud to have it protecting our delegated airspace.”

LaCoursiere found this training to be extremely valuable, as it was the first WSEP for the 148th FW in more than 10 years.  The unit was able to complete their objectives in less than a week and build connections within the fighter community they may not normally get at home station.

“Networking with other units motivates us and improves the camaraderie of getting other wings together for exercises like this,” LaCoursiere said. “In the [ANG], we all come from our communities and aren’t all full-time members of the military. Seeing us bring out a group for an exercise where we can do more than what is [typically] available to us at our base is fulfilling.”