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    Air National Guard

    Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) Training(03:00)

    Members of the Air National Guard's Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) explain the purpose of WADS and describe the training for their jobs.

    WADS is responsible for monitoring America's airspace west of the Mississippi, and they are trained to send aircraft to respond to potential threats. Service members who work for WADS must collaborate with other military branches, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Secret Service and the U.S. Customs Service.

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Maj. Ryan Luther: Hello, my name is Ryan Luther, and I'm a mission crew commander here at the Western Air Defense Center.

We are in charge of homeland defense, so we make sure that all the aircraft out there are IDing themselves correctly, and that we don't have any foreign or domestic threats flying in our airspace.

We do a lot of training and it starts out, some of it's computer-based training, some of it's written and verbal, knowing we have a lot of regulations, probably about 3,000 pages of regulations for people to know, and then we get hands-on training, where the operators sit at consoles, like the one to my right here, and we do the hands-on training on how to operate the equipment to do the job on the operations floor.

All right, gentlemen, today we're going to be doing homeland defense. We're going to be protecting against multi-fighter-fortune adversary threat. We've got four F15 eagles, call sign Rambo, and we'll be defending against a lane that's 25 miles wide. WD1, please provide a core information call for me there.

Speaker 1: [Inaudible] two groups, with bullseye 015-55-15000, [inaudible] two contacts.

Maj. Ryan Luther: Perfect. So you're providing the fill-ins to let him know what he's targeted to, because he's got the group, and you're giving him the formation. Very good.

Normally, for each crew position, it takes about 150 days for initial training, and then 150 days for specialized training.

Senior Airman Daniel Rankin: I'm Daniel Rankin, Senior Airman, United States Air Force. I just got hired by WAD, so I'm learning all the new systems. Right now, we're going to be working on the BCSF, which is kind of our main system. What it does is it pulls in remote radars from all over the country, and combines it into one picture that the technicians can then look at and track planes.

Speaker 1: First thing you do is right-click, and you go to air defense. This is basically the software that is uploading on our system, and it'll give you access to everything that you need, to add the user, and do the rest of the administration things that we use.

Maj. Ryan Luther: A lot of times, it's one-on-one instruction. If we do have enough to pull a class together, it's usually small numbers, about three or four, and they would spend on average six to eight hours of instruction per day, and then the rest would be self-study, and getting other training done.

Senior Airman Daniel Rankin: Well it's real hands-on. When something goes down, it's got to be up right away. A lot of training, so we get a lot of knowledge in that, and it's just a really neat system, because there's not many out there like it.

Maj. Ryan Luther: We're a 24/7/365 organization, so we do 12-hour shifts, and you really get to know folks, and that's really what makes my job a pleasure to do.