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William Tell competition resumes after eight-year break

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- The Air Force’s first William Tell air-to-air competition in eight years takes flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 8 to 19.

William Tell 2004 will test aircrew performance in the air dominance and air sovereignty missions, while evaluating weapons use and the tactics used. The meet also includes weapons loading, maintenance and weapons’ director competitions.

The two-week event will showcase the air-to-air capabilities of F-15 Eagle units representing four major commands and the Air National Guard. Participating units are:

-- Air Combat Command: 71st Fighter Squadron from the 1st Fighter Wing here.

-- Air Education and Training Command: 95th FS from the 325th FW at Tyndall AFB.

-- Air National Guard: 123rd FS from the Oregon ANG’s 142nd FW at Portland.

-- Pacific Air Forces: 19th FS from the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

-- U.S. Air Forces in Europe: 493rd FS from the 48th FW at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of William Tell. The competition is named after the legendary Swiss archer and was a biennial competition that encouraged the most challenging air-to-air scenarios since 1954. The meet was placed on hold for the past eight years because of military operations tempo and contingency requirements.

Although operations tempo remains high, William Tell planners hope resuming the event will help foster the exchange of tactics and better prepare Airmen for combat operations, said Lt. Col. Edward Nagler, William Tell director.

“We are very excited about re-energizing and modernizing this competition. There will be new scenarios incorporated in the competition to represent the wide spectrum of Air Force operations today,” Colonel Nagler said.

Airmen of the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., will serve as “adversaries.” Other changes include the aircraft being equipped with short-range, medium-range and long-range weapons, and aircrews will be evaluated on their response to the threats in day and night scenarios, Colonel Nagler said.

“This competition has left its roots as an air intercept event to become an air superiority event,” he said. (Courtesy of ACC News Service)

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