Residents of northwest Iowa have been getting a free air show this week, courtesy of the Iowa Army and Air National Guard.
Guard spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says they’ve been conducting exercises on how ground and air units can support one another in a combat operation.
"Given our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan," Hapgood says, "we understand the importance when aircraft and soldiers on the ground work together. There’s a great deal of synergy to be had from those two formidable forces."
The exercises include aircraft that Iowans usually don’t see in action, such as F-16’s, Blackhawk helicopters, and a B-2 bomber.
Hapgood says the soldiers are also simulating the use of Unmaned Aerial Vehicles, "so there’s just a whole array of things that this exercise will help us do better when we actually go to war."
The Iowa Air National Guard has some very fast moving aircraft operating at low altitudes in an area extending from Rockwell City, south to Carroll, west to Charter Oak, and north to Ida Grove.
"Within that operating area," Hapgood says, "we have received permission to go as low as 1,200 feet. So, an F-16 at 300 knots, at 1,200 feet…that puts on quite a show."
The guard exercises started on August 7 and will run through this Saturday.