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180th FW trains at MacDill AFB

U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Murray, a pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, reviews critical information and maintenance notes about the F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Murray, a pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, reviews critical information and maintenance notes about the F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

Avionics technicians assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, lower an electronic countermeasure pod, used to jam an enemy fighter jet’s radar, from the wing of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

Avionics technicians assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, lower an electronic countermeasure pod, used to jam an enemy fighter jet’s radar, from the wing of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

F-16 crew chiefs assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, inspect the hydraulic landing gear systems of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, inches away from the howling engine intake, just after the jet landed during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

F-16 crew chiefs assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, inspect the hydraulic landing gear systems of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, inches away from the howling engine intake, just after the jet landed during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Murray, F-16 pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, climbs in to the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, ready to join in the “fight” during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Seth Murray, F-16 pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, climbs in to the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, ready to join in the “fight” during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

F-16 pilots assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, attend a pre-flight briefing to discuss flight plans and weather patterns during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

F-16 pilots assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, attend a pre-flight briefing to discuss flight plans and weather patterns during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jody Smith, a flight line avionics technician assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, loads data in an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to takeoff so the pilot can communicate securely with other pilots during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jody Smith, a flight line avionics technician assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, loads data in an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to takeoff so the pilot can communicate securely with other pilots during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Joshua Wakefield, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, manually pumps the pneumatic pressure up to the 3,000 pounds per square inch needed to start the jet engine of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Joshua Wakefield, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, manually pumps the pneumatic pressure up to the 3,000 pounds per square inch needed to start the jet engine of an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, ensures proper air pressure in the tires on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, ensures proper air pressure in the tires on an F-16 Fighting Falcon during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

An F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, squeezes in to the intake on an F-16 Fighting Falcon in the early morning for a pre-flight check during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

An F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, squeezes in to the intake on an F-16 Fighting Falcon in the early morning for a pre-flight check during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Miller, a crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Miller, a crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two-week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of 180FW Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe Boyer,  a crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, makes initial checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to the start of flying operations during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180FW brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joe Boyer, a crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, makes initial checks on an F-16 Fighting Falcon prior to the start of flying operations during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180FW brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week  training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Miller, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Miller, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s and approximately 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations specialists to MacDill AFB for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the OANG Airmen. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio stands ready and waiting in the early morning hours for the day’s training exercises to begin at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180FW brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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An F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton, Ohio stands ready and waiting in the early morning hours for the day’s training exercises to begin at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 2, 2017. The 180FW brought F-16s and more than 150 maintainers, pilots, and operations support personnel to MacDill for a two week training exercise which included basic fighter maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, sharpening the combat capabilities of the 180FW Airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Captain Jerad Ames, F-16 pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, exits a jet after his landing as crew chiefs start a process of checking the jet for mechanical issues and preparing for the next flight, known as recovery, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week  training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Captain Jerad Ames, F-16 pilot assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, exits a jet after his landing as crew chiefs start a process of checking the jet for mechanical issues and preparing for the next flight, known as recovery, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to  the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, observes as the pilot checks the flight controls in preparation for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida,  Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, crew chiefs, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air ational Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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U.S. Air Force Airmen First Class Shawna Bucher, F-16 crew chief assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, observes as the pilot checks the flight controls in preparation for takeoff during a training exercise at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, crew chiefs, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air ational Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, stand ready and waiting in the early morning hours, for the day’s training exercises to begin at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week long training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)
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F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, stand ready and waiting in the early morning hours, for the day’s training exercises to begin at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Jan. 31, 2017. The 180th brought their F-16s, maintainers, pilots and operations specialists for a two-week long training exercise at MacDill, which included basic fight maneuvers against F-18 Hornets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Nic Kuetemeyer)

02.07.2017 --

The Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing deployed approximately 150 pilots, maintainers, operations support personnel and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida to conduct a two-week training exercise Jan. 20, 2017.

They spent two weeks flying simulated combat missions, taking full advantage of the optimal Florida weather. Flying operations can be difficult in Ohio due to the frigid winter weather, but at MacDill, the sunny skies allow Airmen to train daily.

“Being down here offers us the ability to go and fly each day,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Robert Welch, an F-16 fighter pilot assigned to the 180FW. “We’re flying eight jets at a time, two times a day. Back home, we might only fly one day a week.”

The pilots also trained against F-18 Hornet fighter jets from the Canadian 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron, in order to get experience training alongside and fighting aircraft with different capabilities.

“For training, you’re usually flying against other F-16s, if you’re doing air-to-air. So you kind of get used to that,” said Welch. “Here, we’re fighting something we haven’t seen, or we don’t see every day. For me, this is the first time I’ve gotten to fly against an F-18 Hornet. We’re getting increased combat capability.”

Additionally, the training grounds over the Gulf of Mexico provided more freedom for the fighter pilots to push the limits of their aircraft and hone their skills. Flying over the populated areas of the Midwestern mainland puts restrictions on speed, maneuvers, elevation and distances the pilots can achieve.

“Here the airspace is larger, geographically speaking. When you’re flying over the water, you have much less restrictive rules,” said Welch. “You can go super-sonic and you can fly closer to the ground based on the terrain.”

However, the exercise wasn’t only valuable for the pilots. Part-time maintenance personnel got a chance to experience high-tempo flying operations over an extended period of time.

“You get to find your jet’s personality, what it likes and what it doesn’t like,” said Senior Airman Joshua Wakefield, a crew chief with the 180FW. “It’s great for the Guardsmen who don’t get to do this a lot, they might run into issues they’re not used to seeing. We’re all learning and training together.”

Training in new locations and with international partners ensures the Airmen of the 180FW are ready to deploy around the world at all times.

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