U.S. military personnel met with residents at the Depot Civic and Cultural Center Friday to discuss the utilization of the Brownwood and Brady Military Operating Areas for fighter and bomber training. Local residents can expect an increase in training missions, beginning in the next couple of days.
In fact, because of changes in the structure of the military and the transition of Carswell Naval Air Station to a Joint Reserve Base, flights over the area have seen a steady increase since 2009. In that time, the number of USAF Reserve pilots at the base has risen from 32 to 50.
Two pilots from the USAF Reserve 301st Fighter Wing, Col. Kevin Zeller and Lt. Col. Willy Nelson USAF, along with Capt. Gil Miller, USN Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Forth Worth Joint Reserve Base, answered questions and explained in detail the use of the training space, complete with maps of the MOAs and descriptions of the air space used in training.
Rodney Ellison, Jr. chief of public affairs for the 301st, and Donald Ray, public affairs for the NAS, were also present to discuss the procedures for citizen complaints and property damage. Miller described the event as "extending the olive branch" to local residents and to develop a relationship of understanding.
The Brownwood MOA encompasses approximately 3,200 square miles, with flights limited to above 7,000 ft. It includes all of Brown County, most of Coleman County, and parts of McCulloch, San Saba, Mills, Comanche, Erath, Eastland, Callahan, Runnels, and Concho counties. Although the area is quite large, Col. Zeller pointed out that the longest point extends only about 100 miles, from around Proctor Lake to around O.H. Ivie Lake. The typical training scenarios begin with aircraft positioned at both ends of the diagonal, meeting in the middle, which is right over Bangs and Brownwood.
The Brady MOA encompasses approximately 1,500 square miles, with flights as low as 500 ft.
The types of aircraft typically flown in this area are the T-38 Talon, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18A+ Hornet, and the B-1B Lancer.
Col. Zeller explained that, while flights reaching super-sonic speeds (those which produce the audible boom) are kept to a minimum, they are sometimes required to train for realistic combat situations. He added, when this does happen, and a person can see the jet's contrail, it has occurred over 30,000 ft. The effect of the boom from that height should be minimal, but is dependent on several factors, including the position of the jet and the weather conditions.
The outreach has been conducted twice a year and is very informative, even for those who are just curious about the training that is conducted over the area.
For additional information, to make a complaint, or to report property damage, residents may call the NAS Fort Worth JRB at (817)782-7815.