Eagles Land in Montana

The Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Wing has received the first of the F-15s slated to replace its F-16s, courtesy of BRAC 2005. According to an Aug. 16 report from the Great Falls Tribune, the first F-15s were flown in by members of the losing unit, the Missouri ANG’s 131st Bomb Wing (formerly 131st FW), one of whom, Lt. Col. Darrin Barritt, said, “It’s been my life for 21 years; it’s a great machine.” Although the F-15s are older than the F-16s the 131st FW has given up, at least one of the wing’s aircraft maintainers, SSgt. Doug LaPierre, is “ecstatic,” he said. LaPierre has worked on both fighters and told the newspaper that he likes the “more hands-on work” provided by the F-15s, which don’t have the F-16’s computer-assisted maintenance. “They’re kind of a dinosaur in the fighter aircraft world,” said LaPierre.