HomeNewsArticle Display

Conversion complete

Officials from the Montana Air National Guard observe the progress of the construction projects being completed at the Montana Air National Guard base at the Great Falls International Airport. The facilities will provide maintenance personnel a consolidated place in which to conduct scheduled maintenance activities. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Officials from the Montana Air National Guard observe the progress of the construction projects being completed at the Montana Air National Guard base at the Great Falls International Airport. The facilities will provide maintenance personnel a consolidated place in which to conduct scheduled maintenance activities. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Construction on the 120th Airlift Wing’s new corrosion control hanger, foreground, and the remodel of the unit’s maintenance hangar is nearing completion. The hangar is scheduled to be completed in November, but the corrosion control hangar will not be completed until February 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Construction on the 120th Airlift Wing’s new corrosion control hanger, foreground, and the remodel of the unit’s maintenance hangar is nearing completion. The hangar is scheduled to be completed in November, but the corrosion control hangar will not be completed until February 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Construction on the 120th Airlift Wing’s new corrosion control hanger, foreground, and the remodel of the unit’s maintenance hangar is nearing completion. The hangar is scheduled to be completed in November, but the corrosion control hangar will not be completed until February 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Construction on the 120th Airlift Wing’s new corrosion control hanger, foreground, and the remodel of the unit’s maintenance hangar is nearing completion. The hangar is scheduled to be completed in November, but the corrosion control hangar will not be completed until February 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette)

Great Falls, Mont. -- Col. Lee Smith, Commander of the 120th Airlift Wing, showcased recent improvements and announced the end of the unit's conversion to the C-130 airlift mission at the Montana Air National Guard base during the October drill.

"The conversion process is complete," Smith said. "Today marks our first day since the end of conversion. We sent up an official memo to the Guard Bureau yesterday that we have completed our conversion and are now a fully operational C-130 wing."

Brig. Gen. Bryan Fox, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Montana National Guard, Brig. Gen. Pete Hronek, Vice Chief of Joint Staff for the Montana National Guard, and State Command Chief Master Sgt. Tim Zumbrun were shown the progress made on the hanger construction project and the new unimproved landing zone.

Smith said now that the unit has completed its conversion the Airmen of the Montana Air National Guard are able to be tasked with missions, which includes deployment anywhere around the world.

"There will be some conversion projects that will continue well into the future," Smith said. "None of the work that remains impacts our ability to do our mission." 

Maj. Todd Mortag, Base Civil Engineer, said the new 32,700 square feet corrosion control and fuels cell maintenance building is about 80 percent complete and the hanger conversion project, which added approximately 40 feet to the front of the existing hanger and a complete interior remodel, is about 90 percent complete.

"We are in the final stages of our construction projects," Mortag said.

Mortag added the unit's new corrosion control and fuel systems maintenance building is expected to be complete by the beginning of February 2017 and the renovation of the Montana Air National Guard hanger, originally built in 1957, is expected to be complete in November.

"Our maintainers have been doing their jobs without any maintenance facilities for over a year now and have done some amazing work," Smith said. "Now we are just really excited for them to have the opportunity to enjoy the world-class facilities they deserve."

Mortag said the contractors have done a fabulous job keeping to the construction schedule.

After touring the on-base facilities visitors were driven to the far west side of the airport where construction is underway on the unit's unimproved landing zone; a dirt landing strip.

Smith said the ability to land on a non-paved landing strip may be necessary at deployed expeditionary locations.

Mortag said the 60 feet by 3,500 feet landing zone, built in conjunction with the Great Falls Airport Authority, took approximately 70,000 cubic yards of material, which was placed and compacted in about 30 days, and will be a great benefit to the 120th AW once it is completed.

"The airport authority, under their project, is getting all the bulk material in place and graded and compacted to the appropriate specifications," Mortag said. "As we move forward with our overall facility improvement with the 120th Airlift Wing we'll be looking at potentially putting down some surface course, such as gravel, on top of this material in order to give it a longer life span."  

The ability to land on a dirt landing zone is a special qualification that C-130 pilots have to have, Smith said.

"To have this here means that we don't have to travel somewhere else to get that qualification," Smith said. "More importantly, we now have a venue that other units can come here to train."

Smith said with the unimproved landing zone, a paved runway and several drop zones the unit is developing around the county he foresees the Montana Air National Guard having a premiere training venue for other C-130 units to come to Great Falls, Montana, to train. 

"We have an upcoming deployment in the very near future that we are preparing for right now and our Airmen are super excited to do that because it's a brand new mission that many of them have never done before," Smith said. "This new mission is very exciting for them."

"I'm just wicked proud of my Airmen," Smith said.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.