Joint National Guard Operation A Success
By 2nd Lt Alex Juan, 159th Fighter Wing, LA ANG
/ Published April 30, 2009
March 5th, 2009 -- ALEXANDRIA, La. - Louisiana Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Mississippi Army National Guardsmen joined forces to accomplish an impressive mission that involved a CH-47 Chinook helicopter towing an F-15 static display from England Air Park to Camp Beauregard on Mar. 4.
Guardsmen spent two days completing this tremendous feat. After taking the F-15 apart and turning it into a static display, the guardsmen then slung the 20,000 lbs jet on a 3 point mount underneath a CH-47 Chinook for transfer to its ultimate display ground.
"This is the first time we have actually slung an F-15," said SSG Michael Chaney, flight engineer with the 1/111th Bravo Company from Meridian, Mississippi.
The crew has years of experience flying together and slinging A-10's and cargo. Several factors were weighed prior to attempting to lift the F-15. Members of the Louisiana Air National Guard Maintenance Group made several last minute adjustments to help balance the load.
The F-15 has a wingspan of 42 ft 10 in. "The wider the aircraft, the tougher the mission," said CW4 Wesley T Skinner, CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot and point of contact for Mississippi Army National Guard.
Historical and sentimental values are attached to this F-15 static display. Its' final flight on December 17, 2008, commemorated the 105th year of aviation since "The Wright Flyer." Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Brigadier General Brod Veillon's name is displayed as the pilot. On the opposite side are the names of two deceased members of the 159th Fighter Wing family, Chief Master Sgt Roy Ripp and Master Sgt Pat Hock, former crew chiefs.
The CH-47 Chinook helicopter doing the towing was the first one given to the United States Army by the Boeing Company in 1961, according the Chinook crew.
The ground crew at Camp Beauregard faced some challenges when trying to move the F-15 from the parade field to its display site. They overcame the jet sinking into the soft ground and maneuvered tight corners to arrive at the desired location.
"Tenacity," is what most impressed Lt Col Pete Schneider, 159 Fighter Wing Maintenance Group Commander, about those involved with this event. "This is their first time facing this type of challenge and it's just been fun to watch them put their minds together," Schneider concluded.