The Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls is ready for real-world operations a full year ahead of schedule, if called upon, wing spokesman Maj. Tim Crowe told the Daily Report Monday. Crowe said Col. Peter Hronek, the wing’s commander, on Sunday declared that the unit had reached the initial operational capability milestone, thereby completing its BRAC 2005-mandated conversion from F-16s to F-15s. The IOC declaration came the day after the unit successfully completed its phase 2 operational readiness exercise, an IOC precursor. Crowe said the wing’s accomplishment not only saved tax dollars, but more importantly “gets the F-15s back in the fight” sooner. Even with this milestone, the wing’s future is still somewhat unresolved. The Great Falls Tribune reported June 6 that the wing might lose its F-15s as early as October 2011 to a California Air Guard unit.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.