JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – The 192nd Wing, Virginia Air National Guard, conducted five days of annual training beginning March 9, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
Airmen across the wing completed various career-based training, as well as other readiness items which would normally take up time during drill weekends. The additional time and training allowed for 192nd Airmen to maintain mission readiness. It also allowed the wing to prepare for any calls to service for the Commonwealth after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Having the opportunity to get the majority of their required training done during the week helped to relieve the stress of completing those items during the limited two-day per month timeframe.
“We often set ambitious goals for ourselves when we meet for a drill weekend, and our Airmen are laser focused on accomplishing their mission,” said Col. Mark D. Piper, 192nd Wing commander. “We saw this opportunity to do a week of training together, and we thought it would be a great opportunity for our Airmen to work on readiness and build upon those interpersonal connections that are sometimes hard to foster when you only work together once a month.”
While many Air National Guard units perform annual training periods at the squadron level or higher, the 192nd Wing has not held a wing-wide AT since at least 2005.
The five-day period immediately following the March drill weekend was also a great time for VaANG members to work and train with their active duty counterparts. From bomb building to working on F-22s, total force integration was evident around JBLE.
“I had the privilege of visiting many shops and it was just awesome to see our Airmen executing together on so many diverse missions,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Chris Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief. “We also had a bowling tournament Saturday evening which was a great way to get together out of the uniform and just have some fun.”
Among the Airmen on duty for the week was Master Sgt. Russell Tilley, 192nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician, who worked on an F-22 engine inside the hush house. As a propulsion technician, he tests and certifies jet engines after repairs, before they’re reinstalled on an aircraft.
Staff Sgt. Edward Porter III, 192nd Maintenance Squadron munitions systems technician, trained with airmen from the 1st Maintenance Squadron and honed in his skills to put up and break down a munitions assembly conveyor. The MAC is one of the first objectives a munitions team would accomplish upon arrival in an area of responsibility.