FIGHTER FAREWELL: 132nd Fighter Wing Retiring

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By the end of the summer, you will no longer see F-16 Fighter Jets flying through the sky over the metro.

Due to Federal Budget cuts the unit is being returned and being replaced with drones.

For over 70-years fighters have filled the skies over Des Moines.

Soon the roar of the engine will fall silent as the Air Guards F-16 unit starts to phase out.

“Happy and sad, but the legacy will go on, this unit isn`t going anywhere it`s re-missioning of course with the drones, but we won`t forget,” says Retired Col. Keith Acheson.

Acheson flew for 28 years before his son decided he wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“When I’m mowing greens at Willow Creek I can remember him and his friends flying over the golf course on take-off, so you just look up there and start aspiring to what you want to be when you grow up it seemed pretty logical that I might get involved in that same career path,” says Lt. Col. Travis Acheson.

Lt. Col. Travis Acheson joined the guard in 1988 and has been flying F-16's ever since.

“As a father son combo we`ve been flying for over 50 years in this unit and this unit has been in existence of flying jets for about 70 years,” says Lt. Col. Travis Acheson.

The pair is one of five father-son duos at the 132nd.

Lt. Col. Travis Acheson went on to completed four tours to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

Last week he completed his final ride in an F-16.

“What I’m going to miss the most I love the rush of the fighter aircraft.  I love going 800 miles an hour with my hair on fire, and I know it`s cliché when people say they get high on life, but I love the rush of the fighter jet and I’m going to miss that,” says Lt. Col. Travis Acheson.

By September officials at the 132nd say all the F-16's should be officially retired.

The units new mission will include training 600 people for the new roles they will now hold.

That includes learning the skills needed to maintain, run and operate the unmanned drones that will now remotely operate out of Des Moines.

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