United States Air Force Academy Cadets Visit Iowa Air National Guard Bases

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Trisha Theisen
  • 185 ARW
U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo. visited the Iowa National Guard's 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), located in Sioux City, the 133rd Test Squadron in Fort Dodge, and the 132nd Wing, located in Des Moines, as Iowa's 1,800 Citizen-Airmen conducted training during November's drill weekend.

A total of 40 cadets were invited by Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr, The Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, to learn about the diverse missions of the Iowa Air National Guard, as well as learn about Air National Guard capabilities. Last May, approximately a dozen Air Force Academy cadets traveled to the 132nd Wing to see the differences and similarities of Air National Guard operations.

During their November visit to Iowa, cadets were also able to meet with the Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Scott Rice, during his visit to the 185th ARW, and were able to hear about the priorities currently being tackled at the Pentagon.

"It was a great initiative that the Iowa Air National Guard does to get cadets out to see all parts of the Air Force," said Rice. "Personally, it was very rewarding to interact with the fine cadets of the academy. We're in good hands," he said.

"The cadets were extremely grateful for the opportunity to visit the 185th and 132nd, " said Lt. Col. Casey Tidgewell, the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Group One Commander. "In just two days, they were able to experience multiple, rated and non-rated career fields, helping inform their decisions on which path to pursue in our Air Force.

"Additionally, they learned about the capabilities our Air National Guard partners bring to the Total Force Team, as well as career opportunities available in the ANG, both of which will make them better young officers leading Airmen," Tidgewell said.

While touring the Sioux City Air Base, cadets were able to interact with pilots and aircrew currently serving with the Iowa Air National Guard and learn from their experiences. The Cadets then received a tour of the Air National Guard's only aircraft paint facility, a 300,000-square foot building complete with two paint booths, and then learned about the unique capabilities of the 133rd Test Squadron, located in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

They then traveled to the 132nd Wing in Des Moines, where the cadets were able to see first-hand the capabilities of the wing's MQ-9 "Reaper" remotely piloted aircraft mission, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, Cyber Operations Squadron and Distributed Training Operations Center.

"The Air Force Academy is very appreciative of this partnership with the Iowa Air National Guard and looks forward to continuing our collaborative relationship in the future," said Tidgewell.

The Air National Guard has 90 Wings in 50 states and four territories. Of those Wings, 20 are assigned KC-135 Stratotanker missions and 12 fly MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper missions.

The cadets traveled on an Iowa Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker from Colorado Springs to Iowa. During the flight, they were able to observe mid-air refueling of F-16 fighter jets from Colorado's Buckley Air Force Base.

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