97th Air Mobility Wing
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE – Based out of Bagotville, Quebec, six advanced Canadian CF-18 aircraft and their highly trained crews are scheduled to arrive here March 10.
These aircraft and crews belong to the 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron and will play a central role in the training of Canadian Forces' forward air controller at the Fort Sill artillery ranges.
In order to support this flying mission, Canadian Forces personnel will be arriving here between March 10-12 and the entire team will depart March 25.
The men and women of the 97th Air Mobility Wing stand ready to provide support to an important ally in the significant training operation for the Canadian FAC students at Fort Sill's ranges.
FACs are highly specialized and essential personnel in combat operations. Trained to communicate with aircraft, they often operate in hostile territory to identify enemy targets and help combat pilots locate those targets for kinetic engagement.
From Altus AFB, the 425th TFS pilots will fly their CF-18s over the Fort Sill ranges to provide realistic day and night training experience for the Canadian FAC students. The FAC students will be on the ground at Fort Sill's ranges communicating with the airborne CF-18 pilots, giving instructions that will hopefully lead to an effective engagement of simulated enemy forces and ultimately produce qualified and skilled allied FACs.
There can be little doubt about the relative value of this training. The Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates stated, "The best solutions require multiple nations acting with uncommon unity." This visit gives Altus AFB and the local Altus community an opportunity to demonstrate unity between the 97th AMW and the 425th TFS, as well as the United States and Canada.