With communities along the Missouri river threatened by floodwaters, Air National Guardsmen from Iowa’s 185th Air Refueling Wing converted their base in Sioux City to support Army National Guard helicopter operations. Several of the unit’s KC-135s are currently deployed, freeing space and facilities at Col. Bud Day Field. “We were working 16- to 18-hour days getting set up,” said TSgt. David Henson, a 185th ARW crew chief. Hosting four UH-60 Black Hawks from Iowa and Minnesota and a CH-47 Chinook deployed from Illinois required establishing hover and refueling areas, as well as helicopter-specific maintenance and logistics structures. Airmen continue to support operations, “hot-refueling” the helicopters while their engines are running in order to limit ground time between sorties. The Army helicopters are primarily engaged patrolling miles of dykes, airlifting sand bags, and standing by to evacuate flood victims. (Sioux City report by SSgt. Rich Murphy)
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.