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Missouri Air Guard base to offer 6-month weapons tactics course

Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in Missouri will be the site of an advanced six-month U.S. Air Force class, which will be offered twice a year.

It’s bringing an increase in the Missouri Air National Guard’s economic impact on the local economy. The class also means more military people living in the area and an additional need for long-term temporary housing.

“A coordinated effort between the Missouri Air National Guard, Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri’s congressional delegation and this community is bringing a new mission to the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center,” said Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, Missouri National Guard adjutant general.

The training center will begin offering a six-month weapons instructor course starting in February, Danner said.

“Students will be coming to take the Air Force equivalent of a Ph.D. in weapons tactics and leadership training,” the adjutant general said. “During the next four years, this means an additional $36 million investment in the base and St. Joseph. And it shows that the base is a growing mecca for tactical expertise.”

The course will add 30 new jobs to Missouri’s largest Air National Guard base. The instructors and support staff will live in the St. Joseph metropolitan area.

“Students will learn how to employ the aircraft better,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Murphy, one of the new instructors.

The course will demonstrate how to use the capabilities of an aircraft weapons system to succeed in completing missions, Murphy said. Students completing the tactics course will go on to teach instructors in their commands, he said.

“Bringing the course to the training center shows the Air Force has faith in us,” said Col. Ralph Schwader, 139th Airlift Wing commander.

The Air Guard base delivers educational programs to all branches of the U.S. military and about 20 allied nations.

“The future of the Air Guard base depends on growing,” said Steve Johnston, Community Alliance of St. Joseph director. Adding the course brings a successful conclusion to a community effort during the past two and a half years.

About 30 local leaders and politicians were on hand for the announcement.

Mayor Bill Falkner said the whole community should be happy to hear the news.

This course was one of the 139th Airlift Wing’s four major goals. The Community Alliance is still working on the other goals: to repair levees, upgrade the Wing’s planes to C-130J models and have a C-130 flight simulator on site for aircrew training.

During the next several years, a new goal will be to secure funding for facility improvements, Brig. Gen. Gregory Champagne, Missouri’s assistant adjutant general-Air, said.

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