Ready, Set...Stop

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matt Benedetti
  • 104th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Sorties over Eastern Afghanistan?  Check.  Convoys through Iraq?  Got it.  A federal government shutdown?  That might be a problem

Members of the Massachusetts Air National Guard 's 104th Fighter Wing have earned a reputation for facing challenges head on but the looming government shutdown on April 8 nearly grounded the unit during their Weapons System Evaluation Program deployment here. The pilots and maintenance teams were poised, ready to employ their air-to-air arsenal at WSEP.

The several months of planning required in preparation for this exercise would have been rendered moot if a budget extension was not agreed upon in Washington D.C. by a midnight deadline.

The budgetary impasse was not resolved until the 11th hour when an extension was finally approved. The debate was followed with keen interest by members of the 104th FW already here at Tyndall and those poised to depart from the unit's home base in Westfield, Mass.

As the midnight deadline approached, Airmen followed the debate in a fashion more suited to the fourth quarter of a New England Patriots football game. The compromise was met with elation and relief akin to a game-winning field goal.

Throughout the period of uncertainty, the Airmen never lost their mission focus.

"Nobody dropped their guard," said Master Sgt. Tim Mutti, the unit first sergeant. "Everyone remained positive and kept informed. It was a bump in the road and once it was resolved we hit the ground running."

Col. Robert Brooks, the 104th FW commander, arrived on April 9, relieved that the budget was extended.

"We got an email at about 4 a.m. indicating that the funding was ok," he said. "Everyone was ready to go and I am glad to be here."