Last Springfield Viper Leaves Soon

According to a report in the State Journal-Register, the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing this week will lose its final F-16 fighter, courtesy of BRAC 2005. Some of the Air Guardsmen that supported the F-16 mission, namely firefighters and some maintainers, got a one-year reprieve earlier this month, with the assistance of the state’s Congressional delegation. The state is still pursuing a flying mission for the wing, but so far there’s none in the offing. The Springfield Air Guard is to open an air and space operations center and a new Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility, which should keep some maintainers engaged with the F-16’s General Electric engine. Wing aircraft mechanics also will continue to provide maintenance for F-16s of other units to help the Air Force cut down on a backlog.