Most Viewed Stories
Minnesota Air Guard enjoying Yuma's warm skies, welcome
With freezing temperatures and snow back home, Yuma's sunny skies presented a warm welcome to a contingent of the Minnesota Air National Guard that is here this week for some training.
The group is no stranger to Yuma, having been training here off and on since the 1970s while their weather back home is inclimate.
“We're very happy to be here in the winter,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Moss, public affairs specialist for the 133rd Airlift Wing.
And, yes, he said, Minnesota has lots of snow on the ground right now. “This is a very nice midwinter training opportunity for us.”
The group brought four C-130 aircraft (also known as Hercules) and 130 troops for training both at Yuma Proving Ground and with the Marine Corps. The C-130 is the U.S. Air Force's principal tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft.
Here for a week, the group is taking advantage of the training ranges around Yuma to keep pilots' skills sharp and to run their patterns.
It also gives them opportunities to train at YPG and with the Marines on joint operations, Moss said. They even occasionally get in some international training with the various groups from around the world that come through Yuma to train.
“It's absolutely critical to our mission,” Moss said. “We're able to work in a desert environment where we might be deployed to.”
He explained that the mission is to deliver supplies “where others can't go,” such critical supplies as food, water and ammunition and perhaps even taking troops into combat.
The group provides humanitarian aid as well as military support and has done a lot of hurricane relief work.
“It's very valuable to be able to train in a variety of situations and conditions,” Moss said.
Million Air and Yuma International Airport are hosting the Minnesota Air National Guard, which is using the ramp at the airport's Defense Contractor Complex.
Senior members complimented the ease of doing training here — the coordination efforts by Million Air, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and the airport's part helping to make their mission a success.
Moss also spoke highly of the warm welcome from the community.
“People here have been so nice. When I go into a restaurant in uniform, people come up and thank me for my service. We're enjoying our stay.”
The stay includes occupying rooms at a local hotel, eating in local restaurants and taking in some of the sights the community has to offer. Before they leave, the group is even looking to enjoy some of the recreational opportunities here.