Montana Eagle Soars

The 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard conducted its first F-15 sortie late last week, reports KRTV news. The Great Falls-based Air Guard unit began replacing its F-16s with F-15s, courtesy of BRAC 2005, last year and expects to have all its Eagles some time next year. (The wing painted its tail flash on the first of its F-15s in December.) Unit pilots are spending about five months making the transition from the smaller air-to-ground F-16s to the larger air-to-air F-15s. According to the last BRAC decisions, the 120th FW is to have a complement of 15 Eagles, but the Montana Congressional delegation had been working to increase that number. (The KRTV report mentions 18 as the total number.) The lawmakers also wanted secure an associate mission for the wing, in which it would train active-duty airmen about F-15 maintenance.