Packers land at 115th Fighter Wing for a visit

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 16, 2012 – 9:39 pm

Larry McCarren

Today’s afternoon surprise stop was at the base of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field in Madison.

Approximately 350 members of the unit, nearly all of its full-time personnel and roughly 30 percent of the base’s total compliment of Airmen, were participating in a recognition ceremony in a hanger when the tour bus pulled up to surprise them.

The tour members proceeded to the stage and had the opportunity to thank the Airmen for their service to the country.

Lt. Col. Chad Milne, a pilot who has participated in flyovers at Lambeau Field, enjoyed welcoming the Packers to his turf for a change.

“It was a great experience for them to come here and have us show them around,” he said. “It’s neat to share our story with anyone, but especially these guys.”

Col. Pat Volk particularly enjoyed the timing of the surprise visit as the unit has been going through a series of inspections.

“It’s a stressful time for our Airmen, with our readiness exercises and inspections, and preparing to go overseas again later this year,” he explained. “Today is a great morale event.”

After mingling with the Airmen, a few of the players had the opportunity to see the cockpit of an F-16 up close. Larry McCarren, who holds a private pilot’s license, even had a chance to sit in the pilot’s seat of the fighter. He clearly enjoyed the moment.

“If you’re an airplane nut like me, that was a great time,” he said with a smile. “If was fun talk to the pilot and the guys who take care of the plane.

“It was something to sit in that cockpit, too. I’ve heard them say that in a fighter, you strap on the plane. It’s true. That’s a tight fit.”

Click here to see photos from the 115th Fighter Wing visit.

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Posted in Blog, Tailgate Tour