Back to Old Montana

Montana Air National Guard F-15s last week handed over responsibility for protecting the airspace around Hawaii back to the Hawaii ANG’s 190th Fighter Wing at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, reports Montana’s Great Falls Tribune. F-15s from the 120th Fighter Wing deployed to Hickam from Great Falls in August 2010 to cover Hawaii’s aerospace control alert mission while the Hawaii Air Guard transitioned from the F-15 to the F-22. Because the Air Force grounded the Raptor fleet for five months in 2011, the Hawaii ANG’s 199th Fighter Squadron—together with its Active Duty associate unit, the 19th FS—experienced delays in commencing initial operations with their Raptors, achieving that milestone only last month. As a result, Montana’s F-15 deployment stretched from 14 months to more than two years. A detachment of approximately 40 Montana Guardsmen was deployed to Hickam at any one time, and all but a dozen rotated back and forth, according to the newspaper’s Dec. 7 report. Upon their return, the 120th FW airmen were slated to exchange their F-15s for C-130s, but that is something Montana lawmakers are still resisting.