162nd Fighter Wing completes successful deployment at D-M

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ -- The Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing will return to Tucson International Airport today after a successful deployment at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The 162nd FW has operated 38 F-16s out of D-M since Sept. 15 while the main runway at TIA was being re-surfaced.

"We appreciate the support of Davis-Monthan to allow us to continue our vital mission of training Air National Guard F-16 pilots while our normal runway was closed for repairs," said Maj. Windy Hendrick, the 162nd FW's project officer for the temporary relocation. "We also sincerely appreciate the support of the Tucson community for their patience and understanding during the increased level of activity in D-M's traffic pattern."

Colonel Carl Thomae, the vice commander of the 162nd FW, said the deployment was a good opportunity for the Guard and active-duty Air Force to work side by side. "The deployment to D-M was an overwhelming success. It went smoothly because of the close cooperation between the 162nd Fighter Wing and the Desert Lightning Team at Davis-Monthan."

Colonel Thomae also expressed his gratitude to the citizens of Tucson for their cooperation during the deployment. "The 162nd is very sensitive to our fellow Tucson citizens on noise issues, and we did our absolute best to be as quiet as we could in the air traffic pattern," he said.

Despite the added aircraft, the number of people who called the base to express concerns over flight operations was about the same as the same time period last year, said Capt. Travis Tougaw, the 355th Wing's chief of public affairs. Overall, the base has had fewer calls regarding aircraft activity this year than through the same time period last year, principally as a result of aggressive noise reduction efforts.

"This is a testament to the MC3 process and open and honest communication about our operations," Captain Tougaw said.

Colonel Kent Laughbaum, the commander of the 355th Wing, also expressed his appreciation to the citizens of Tucson. "The 162nd Fighter Wing plays a crucial role in the defense of our nation and we are very proud of our strong partnership with them. We are also encouraged with the improving relationship we have with our neighbors in Tucson and the surrounding areas. The support of our fellow citizens in the civilian community is absolutely essential to our efforts in defense of the United States."