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Utah Wing

From Blizzard of ’49 to ’02 Olympics, wing stays vigilant

Utah Wing activities have encompassed blizzards, crashes, Olympics security and high-tech missions — even parachuting sheepdogs to herders whose dogs died in the terrible blizzards of January-February 1949. In that worst winter since 1899, members helped master-map and observe the landscape and dropped food and medicine.

In 1969, the wing used 96 members and nine planes for three days, rescuing three survivors after a Cherokee Six crashed in the Grand Canyon. Members joined the 1997 search after an A-10 Thunderbolt crashed near Eagle, Colo. Post-9/11 support included transportation, reconnaissance and airborne imagery missions. In the years since the terrorist attacks, aircrews have also flown as simulated targets in simulation exercises in the U.S. Air Force’s Operation Noble Eagle. In 2002, aircrews took pre-event airborne digital photos of Olympics and Paralympics sites in Salt Lake City to be used as baselines for comparison in the event of an attack.

In 2011, aircrews flew over 50 sorties and more than 200 hours, and mission base staff contributed more than 1,300 hours to development testing at the Air Force’s Utah Test and Training Range of the U.S. Army’s Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS), a tactical, theater-based sensor system elevated by tethered aerostats. This was the first time CAP was involved in development testing of a major Department of Defense weapon system; CAP’s Garmin G1000-equipped aircraft provided flight support for calibration of the surveillance radar system.

The Utah Wing supported development testing of the U.S. Army’s JLENS cruise missile defense system over western Utah in 2011, helping ensure the effectiveness of defense against low-altitude cruise missiles. Here, a Utah Wing aircrew orbits the elevated JLENS aerostat, designed to provide battlefield commanders with early detection of airborne threats. Photo by 2nd Lt. Roger Kehr, Utah Wing
The Utah Wing supported development testing of the U.S. Army’s JLENS cruise missile defense system over western Utah in 2011, helping ensure the effectiveness of defense against low-altitude cruise missiles. Here, a Utah Wing aircrew orbits the elevated JLENS aerostat, designed to provide battlefield commanders with early detection of airborne threats. Photo by 2nd Lt. Roger Kehr, Utah Wing
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