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.

Archives

NEWS | April 22, 2020

Wing alert mission exhibits strength amidst the war on COVID-19

By U.S. Air Force Maj. Kinder Blacke CONG, TAG, 140

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Since Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing have been on alert, defending the homeland against airborne threats with their fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft staged at Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, Colorado.

When COVID-19 turned the nation’s normal way of life upside down, the Aerospace Control Alert mission remains steadfast and unchanged.

“ACA is a 24/7 mission that we must execute no matter how distracting world events become,” U.S. Air Force Col. Kurt Tongren, commander, 140th Operations Group said. “America’s enemies never rest, and neither do we.”

It takes a team of professionals to support the alert mission, Tongren said. A maintenance crew, air traffic control tower operators, security forces defenders and pilots are on duty to ensure the alert mission is always ready.

To ensure the right people are on the job, the wing relies on U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Steven Richardson, alert chief enlisted manager, 140th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who has been with the wing since before the ACA mission was born.

“It is my responsibility to ensure that we have appropriate manning to operate a 24/7 mission and a schedule for all of our mission essential alert personnel that will maximize their abilities while also taking care of the member’s personal life and health,” Richardson said.

Because the mission requires these Airmen to be on base together, they take all possible precautions to stay healthy and keep the virus out of the ACA community.

“By far, the biggest challenge is staying isolated and separated from our co-workers while continuing to perform our daily alert tasks, to include flying practice scrambles,” Tongren said. “But the alert team is finding ways to make it work.”

Richardson developed a plan to minimize the number of personnel needed during each shift and altered the schedule to decrease the frequency of swap outs in order to lessen the members’ exposure. The 140th Force Support Squadron (services) members are also providing four hot meals per day to the alert members to further preserve their health.

“It’s been a unique challenge coming up with ways to continue the mission and preserve the team’s health,” Richardson said. “But we have a strong plan in place, and contingency plans for all foreseeable issues that could arise.”

While the world is changing and our adversaries continue to pose a threat to the United States and our allies, Richardson said, the need to defend our homeland has never been more essential.

“Everyone seems to be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make the mission happen,” Richardson said. “They work hard every day to provide mission-ready F-16s to defend our nation should we be called upon.”

Despite drastically reduced operations on the base, the ACA team continues to fly training missions periodically throughout the week to maintain currency and ensure their ability to respond at a moment’s notice.

“We hope that when our communities see and hear these alert jets flying around the state, they will feel a sense of pride and solidarity knowing that even though our nation is facing a challenging time, we are still strong and we will get through this together,” Tongren said.

February 2023 (1)
January 2023 (6)
December 2022 (5)
November 2022 (5)
October 2022 (2)
September 2022 (7)
August 2022 (5)
July 2022 (3)
June 2022 (7)
May 2022 (3)
April 2022 (4)
March 2022 (3)
February 2022 (4)
January 2022 (5)
December 2021 (7)
November 2021 (3)
October 2021 (2)
September 2021 (2)
August 2021 (6)
July 2021 (4)
June 2021 (1)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (5)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (2)
January 2021 (3)
December 2020 (3)
November 2020 (7)
October 2020 (6)
September 2020 (6)
August 2020 (8)
July 2020 (9)
June 2020 (7)
May 2020 (10)
April 2020 (9)
March 2020 (2)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (6)
November 2019 (2)
October 2019 (8)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (7)
July 2019 (5)
June 2019 (2)
May 2019 (6)
April 2019 (9)
March 2019 (2)
February 2019 (2)
January 2019 (3)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (6)
October 2018 (2)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (9)
July 2018 (1)
June 2018 (1)
May 2018 (1)
April 2018 (5)
October 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (2)
March 2017 (2)
February 2017 (3)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
October 2016 (2)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
May 2016 (2)
April 2016 (3)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (3)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (2)
August 2015 (1)
July 2015 (1)
June 2015 (2)
May 2015 (3)
March 2015 (1)
February 2015 (1)
October 2014 (1)
September 2014 (1)
June 2014 (1)
April 2014 (1)
May 2013 (1)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (8)
February 2013 (9)
January 2013 (7)
November 2012 (1)
April 2012 (2)
January 2012 (1)
March 2010 (1)