New Simulator Facility to Be Built at Quonset Air National Guard Base
By MSgt Janeen Miller, 143 AW/PA
/ Published October 23, 2015
Quonset ANGB, North Kingstown, Rhode Island - On April, 24th 2015, at Quonset Air National Guard Base, North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a ground breaking ceremony took place to commemorate the beginning of construction on a C-130J Simulator Facility. The facility will, in the future, house a state of the art simulator for the C-130J Super Hercules. The 143d Airlift Wing is the first Air National Guard unit to be picked to house such a facility. The ceremony was attended by Major General Kevin McBride, Adjutant General, Commanding General, Rhode Island National Guard, Senator Jack Reed, Congressman James Langevin, Congressman David Cicilline, Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee, RI State Treasurer Seth Magaziner and the men and women of the Rhode Island National Guard.
Currently, all 143 AW pilots and loadmasters attend a four day simulator refresher once a year. It focuses on emergency procedures and system knowledge. The simulator they currently attend is located at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Installing this simulator at Quonset will allow our Airmen to continuously train on these things throughout the year, as well as better recreate the combat environment, without the cost of traveling to another base. The simulator to be installed in the building that the ground breaking ceremony celebrated, "is a combat aviator's dream," said Colonel Daniel Walter, 143d Airlift Wing Commander. He added, "By linking into the Air Force's virtual threat environment we will "fly" with other simulated aircraft at other bases, all connected together." This will allow Airmen to see large formation airdrops before they have to execute them in conflict for the first time. "In short, we'll be safer and even more effective combat airlifters," said Walter.
The simulator will also be a remarkable asset in training our aircraft maintainers, particularly for engine run qualification. Also, as the 143d continues to support C-130J Foreign Military Sales (FMS), it is expected that the simulator will be used as a part of the international training program. At some point in the future, the 143d also hopes to support conversion of additional ANG C-130H units to the J-model. It'll be the biggest improvement in the 143d Airlift Wing's ability to train to challenging situations in the unit's history.
In addition to the training benefits of the simulator, the construction of the $6 million facility and the sustainment of the equipment will also benefit the state of Rhode Island. The operation and sustainment could bring up to 36 full-time jobs and an associated $2-3 million dollar payroll to the Rhode Island economy each year.
"Today marks the capstone of a unit conversion started almost 20 years ago," said Col Walter, "From the moment we received the C-130J's we set about using them hard, making sure the American taxpayer got the combat air power they paid for." The 143d Airlift Wing has flown wounded out of forward areas, dropped "beans and bullets" to soldiers in combat, flown humanitarian missions supporting elections in Iraq, dropped food to Afghani villagers, worked disaster recovery in the US and abroad, and even assumed the role of instructors, seasoning not only members of the USAF active duty, but training aviators, maintainers, aerial porters, and more in 8 of our partner nations.
The ceremony was closed out with a ceremonial ground breaking in the area that the building will be built at Quonset Air National Guard Base and a thank you message from Col Walter, "That all of you that had a hand in supporting this project, particularly the members of our Congressional delegation. We will, as always, prove good for it, and make sue the question "why the 143d?" is always answered before it's even asked."