FACA Tours 161st
By Senior Airman Michael Matkin, 161st ARW Public Affairs
/ Published May 15, 2009
Sky Harbor Air National Guard --
A group of retired Forward Air Controllers toured the base here May 13.
The group consisted of about twenty members of the national Forward Air Controllers Association.
There are about sixty members located in Arizona of about twenty who meet once a month to share stories and continue the sense of camaraderie they experienced while serving in the Air Force, said Tom McGrain the leader of the local association who served as a forward air controller for over thirty years.
"It gives us a chance to relive our experiences and share our stories, which get better and better every time we share them," said FAC member Pratt Ashworth.
"We have a link of service," said McGrain
The group was given a tour of a KC-135 by pilots and boom operators and a presentation of the life support unit. As an added bonus, they were able to view Marine One which was secured in the hanger for the presidential visit to Arizona State University for the commencement address.
"Visiting the 161st was a confirmation of the past experiences I have had working with the Air National Guard," said FAC member David Hines, "everyone here is very professional and a testament to the units broad worldwide mission."
"The Air Force and especially the Air National Guard is forward thinking; they look to the future not the past," said Ashworth.
FAC personnel direct air strikes from their aircraft for precise placement of munitions and to ensure the safety of ground troops. The FAC marks targets and directs air strikes through radio transmission, laser sighting or flares.
The FACA was formed in 2000 and the local chapter was formed in 2001. To join or learn more about the association visit their web site at http://www.fac-assoc.org/