There is still some question about the future of the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing but for now it has traded an older version of the F-16 for a newer one, getting a few more in the bargain and creating a need for more personnel. Last year Congress directed the Pentagon to make a plan—and share it—to sustain the Fresno wing beyond the end of the Viper, sometime around 2012. The Fresno future is still uncertain, but Eddie Jimenez of the Fresno Bee reports that the 144th Fighter Wing now needs to bring on—as of Oct. 1—22 full-time personnel and 250 part-timers to handle the shift from a 15-aircraft unit to one with 18 newer Vipers.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.