BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (3/7/10) – The 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard formally opened its new operations building with a ribbon cutting ceremony March 6.
The project was a military construction addition from the Colorado Delegation in 2009. The new $7.3 million facility took more than a year to complete, employed more than 300 people including more than 40 sub-contractors.
The former operations facility was originally designed for the A-7 aircraft. Since converting to the F-16 in 1991, the mission of the 120th Fighter Squadron has grown significantly to include not only the traditional air-to-ground mission, but also an air-to air-mission as well as a national air defense mission.
Since Sept 11, 2001, Colorado Air National Guardsmen have been in a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week alert posture to deter and respond to attacks similar to the events in New York City and at the Pentagon.
With the change in mission aircraft and the added responsibility for protection of the Midwest, the 120th Fighter Squadron has witnessed upgrades and additions to digital avionics, command and control systems, and a host of other upgrades. Historically, these systems have been funded by upgrades to the aircraft, however the funding for upgrades to the facility have not kept pace. As a result, the former facility was undersized and unable to adequately support the new missions.
The 120th Fighter Squadron operates at the highest levels of military and domestic policy. Militarily, the 120th Fighter squadron has deployed five times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, most recently to Joint Base Balad, Iraq last summer. The 120th Fighter Squadron has also supported an Air Expeditionary Force deployment in the Pacific and multiple National Special Security Events, such as the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
“We are very excited about this new facility," said Col. Mike Loh, 140th Operations Group commander. “This is a very important project to the mission out here at Buckley and will help us to continue to support the state and nation as we have for the past 150 years.“The will be used for current and future operations, mission planning and training,” he added.