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181st IW, Terre Haute Regional Airport partner to host military exercise

181st Intelligence Wing

Aircraft maintainers from the 55th Fighter Squadron walk near an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Ind., Aug. 19, 2021. Hulman Field is home to the Indiana Air National Guard’s 181st Intelligence Wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Jonathan W. Padish)

TERRE HAUTE, IN, UNITED STATES --

HULMAN FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind. (Oct. 3, 2021) – The 181st Intelligence Wing, in concert with the Terre Haute Regional Airport, hosted military flying missions during exercise Jaded Thunder.

The exercise included military aircraft – an unusual site for the 181st IW, which does not currently possess a flying mission. For the exercise to occur, coordination between the 181st IW and THRA was essential.

Thankfully, the prolonged absence of military aircraft was no issue for the 181st IW or its civilian airport counterpart.

Josh Thompson, the general manager for Hoosier Aviation, which is the fixed base operator for the THRA, said the airport is able to provide ground and fuel services for all aircraft at Hulman Field. Many of the FBO’s employees have either served or have a family connection to the military, which provided a closer connection between the THRA and 181st IW.

Indeed, Terre Haute has a history of military aviation at Hulman Field.

“Since 1956, we’ve been here performing our federal and state missions,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Tamala Saylor, the commander of the 181st IW. “We enjoy a strong and healthy relationship with our community. This exercise clearly shows that relationship.”

Beyond the relationship with the community is the resources available to the airfield itself. Hulman Field, which is operated by both the 181st IW and the THRA, provided ample resources to support the exercise and its flying missions.

For example, the 181st IW and the THRA combined have a 9,020-foot primary runway, a 7,200-foot alternate crosswind runway, more than 1 million square feet of ramp space, 1,465 acres of land and hundreds of thousands square feet of building space capable of housing everything from aircraft maintenance operations to office space.

The relationship between the 181st IW and THRA goes beyond buildings to include airfield support operations.

For example, the THRA provides Hulman Field with air traffic control, aircraft fueling, and fire protection capabilities in coordination with the Terre Haute Fire Department. Those resources make possible the hosting of military flying exercises at Hulman Field.

“It’s clearly a proven concept that you can host military exercises here with this airport and the airspace,” said Hauser. “Hopefully this exercise shows we are a good place to host. We’ve got a great training space here [at Hulman Field].”

Indeed, the 181st IW, in concert with its civilian airport partner, highlighted Hulman Field’s ability to successfully accommodate new missions and support the presence of a multitude of military aircraft through its hosting of Jaded Thunder.

“The energy has been great,” said Hauser. “You have all these entities – military, civilian and contractor – all working together. It’s a good relationship, and Hulman Field is the perfect place to be. We have one million square feet of ramp space. You are so close to training ranges like [Camp] Atterbury, Muscatatuck [Urban Training Center] and Jefferson Proving Ground. This is just the perfect place to be. And more importantly, this [exercise] is great for the community.”

Certainly, the partnership between the 181st IW and THRA provide the resources and capabilities to support flying exercises and missions both today and in the future.