Coronavirus, Featured, Original Report, Sherrie Peif, Weld County

Air National Guard training ‘going strong’ despite pandemic with F-16 presence over Northern Colorado

WINDSOR — While millions of Coloradans stay at home under lockdown orders, many in northern Colorado were treated to a rare display of fighter jets recently.

Over the past couple of weeks, residents have been reporting F-16 fighter planes in the skies over Windsor, Greeley, and Fort Collins.

In a time of anxiety and apprehension, some were left with concerns about the activity.

However, the Chief of Public Affairs for the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard, based out of Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora says all is well, and in fact, in this time of crisis public support is even more important to the men and women of the military.

Maj. Kinder Blacke said since the COVID-19 situation in Colorado got serious, many operations at Buckley have been drastically reduced. Many people are teleworking, limiting services to ensure the health and safety of their members and prevent the spread of the virus.

However, several missions are still conducted around the clock and going strong, Blacke said.

“We will continue to support and defend our nation indefinitely,” Blacke said. “One of those is our Aerospace Control Alert mission, which is operated by the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard. While the daily F-16 training flights have been limited, we are still conducting alert training flights periodically throughout the week. These are the flights that the community may have witnessed, and definitely have heard.”

Blacke said some of the changes they’ve made to the training includes changed flight paths and increased F-16 traffic up and down the front range a bit — specifically Windsor, where many of the inquiries came from.

“We hope that this jet noise provides our local communities a sense of pride and encouragement,” Blacke said. “Knowing that even though our nation is experiencing a pandemic, we are strong and resilient, and we will get through this together. The community in Windsor has been overwhelmingly supporting of the Colorado Air National Guard and we really appreciate their continued support!”

 

 

 

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