The firefighters of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Fighter Wing who were supposed to be out of a job when the wing gave up its F-16s last fall but received a one-year reprieve to stay through September are now on another one-year extension, reports the State Journal-Register. The news came from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who reportedly got the word from Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, ANG director. Since losing its F-16s, the wing picked up the job of repairing F-16 engines, but the state is still actively seeking a new flying mission. Per the SJR, Durbin said the extension is “welcome news, as these highly skilled firefighters are critical to Springfield’s ability to handle an emergency.”
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.