Crews are working in the air and on the ground at Combat Raider training

Local News

BOX ELDER, S.D. (KELO) — Combat Raider training is taking flight this week at Ellsworth Airforce Base… and tonight we’re getting the chance to meet some of the crew members.

If you look up at the sky, you might see B1 Bombers, Tankers, and Fighter Jets training this week. Behind all of the aircrafts is a team of mechanics.

“Even the tiniest things can effect the mission.”

For every one hour this aircraft is in the sky, it takes about 46 hours of maintenance here on the ground.

“We just want to make sure everything is up to our standards, according to our base’s standards and make sure there is no chance of anything going wrong whether it’s in the air or on the ground,” Estes, Aircraft Armament Specialist, said.

Sgt. Hugo Estes with the South Dakota Air National Guard is from Sturgis. From checking the jet to loading munitions, he’s able to make sure this F16 Fighter Jet is good to fly.

“The F16 is designated as a fighter aircraft but we can definitely do bomb drops, we can do fly-bys if we need to,” Sgt. Estes said.

The goal of this training is to be ready for any potential threat in the future.

“Our focus when we are here is working on our agile combat employment posture and that is basically deploying to a location with a small group of people, a small group of equipment and being able to function for a week and return everybody and our equipment back home successfully,” Sgt. Andrew Mager, Senior Enlisted Leader, said.

While you may not see mechanics up in the air, they keep things running smoothly and keep people safe from the ground.

Combat Raider training at the Ellsworth Airforce Base has brought in airmen and aircrafts from across the nation. It will continue throughout this week.

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