Connecticut Air Guard's Flying Yankees cut 2011's fourth ribbon

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead
  • 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
The Connecticut National Guard held its fourth ribbon cutting of 2011 on base during the mid-morning of Dec. 3, 2011, to celebrate the completion of a $9 million renovation to a Bradley Air National Guard Base facility.

The facility boasts a nearly 23,000 square-foot addition that will house the 103rd Air Operations Group's new command and control operations floor including training and administrative areas and other intelligence operations areas. The facelift to what was formerly the 103rd Operations Group building has been updated to reflect the high-technology mission of the 103rd AOG. The role of this group is to analyze, strategize, plan and direct joint air power during combat operations and includes missions such as close-air support and other intelligence and surveillance operations.

This new facility provides a significant increase to the capabilities of the AOG, said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, The Adjutant General and commander of the Connecticut National Guard. Additionally, it attests to the state and federal efforts to re-capitalize on the Air National Guard, said Martin as he addressed the members of the 103rd AOG, Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, and other distinguished visitors who attended the ceremony.

"This unit overcame the lack of adequate facilities and still trained to deploy over 300 people to operational missions across the world," and with each project we start we move closer to providing the Guard the tools they need to accomplish their training, said Martin.

In overcoming obstacles, the 103rd AOG utilized many deployment opportunities in-lieu of in-house training the facility will now provide. The group has also used the assets of overseas contingency operations and others located at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

"Whether deploying to the Combined Air Operations Center [in Southwest Asia], augmenting a major exercise at Shaw Air Force Base, or sending individuals to Shaw for individual positional mission qualification training, the 103rd AOG has been able to overcome our in-house training challenges to attain and maintain an operational readiness posture equivalent to existing seasoned air operation center augmentation units," said Lt. Col. Glenn "Tank" Sherman, 103rd Air Operations Group.

"It is important to train like we fight. A training facility that mirrors the systems capability and layout that we have in deployed Air Operations Centers abroad is essential; it means that operators can easily transition from a training status to a real-world command and control center with minimal confusion and spin-up once he or she arrives at the deployed location. Essentially, our operators will be able to hit the ground running," said Maj. Evan Hunt, Chief--Master Air Attack Planning Cell, 103rd Air Operations Group. "The AOG, as a small but important part of the Air National Guard, is all about being ready to provide experienced and professional Airmen from a wide variety of Air Force Specialty Codes to support Command and Control missions around the world on short notice. As always, the people, not the system, make the mission," Hunt said.

Overcoming adversity is a trademark of the military in general, and at Bradley Air National Guard Base, the 103rd AOG is no exception. Now, the group will have a modern facility to reflect their modern mission. Previously, the AOG was operating out of modular trailers on base to accomplish their missions. And while they did have some fond memories in the trailers, said Hunt, there is no comparison to the new facility.

"To put it in flying terms, it's the difference between a home-made glider and an F-15 strike fighter," Hunt said.