(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Next winter, air crews for the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph will have a new training facility.
The 139th Airlift Wing broke ground Tuesday morning on a new multi-million dollar project, propelling the Air National Guard Wing to being one of the leaders in the country.
“It puts us on the map to be the tactical airlift leaders in reference to support the nation's call, as well as the state's call,” said Colonel Mark Roehter, 139th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group Commander.
The project features a new full-motion flight simulator on the north end of the base, giving air crews emergency training on a grounded, realistic flight.
“Currently on the southern part of the base, we have a simulator but what it’s not is a full motion simulator. I would compare that to playing a video game at home, the standard simulator. This one, you’re getting the full effects and impact to allow us to be survivable in a hostile environment,” said Colonel Roehter.
Colonel Roehter said this 10,000 square foot full-motion C-130H Hercules Weapons System Trainer simulator is designed to save lives.
“It’s a safety issue. If you’re actually in training and you’re trying to go through different scenarios and you’re 12,000-15,000-18,000 feet in the air and we are doing some tactical maneuvers; you’re on the ground and you can back up and regroup in a safe manner through a flight simulator,” said Colonel Roehter.
The flight simulator is also cutting costs for the 139.
“It’s 1/5th of the cost to operate this versus operating the aircraft itself,” said Colonel Roehter.
Weather put a damper on Tuesday's ground breaking, but once the flight simulator is fully operational, rain won't impact training. One of the many reasons why local and state leaders supported the $25 million project in hopes of helping St. Joseph.
“They see us as an anchor to the local community because we provide jobs,” said Colonel Roehter.
The new training simulator will employ 14 people.
This project makes a vision clearer. The 139th will continue to operate as an important part of the local community.
“This is the next step and we have hopes that we can move forward and continue in solidifying the 139th up here on the north end,” said Colonel Roehter.
The new full-motion flight simulator is expected to wrap up December 20, 2021.
A contract of $5.69 million for the construction of the building was awarded to Lee Grover Construction Company.