Career Spotlight: Alert Pilots

It’s dark. I have every single window open. The smell of barbeques and bonfires spreads throughout the house as the summer breeze flows into one window and out the other. The sound of freedom floods each inch of space as we listen to the fireworks going off outside. The sound of people celebrating our independence begins days, if not weeks, before and after the Fourth of July holiday.

For Airmen and people living near the base, that sound of freedom and celebration of our independence is evident year round – every time we hear the Alert Jets take off we are reminded of the blessings we have here at Truax, the blessings of our federal mission to protect the skies of America whenever we are called upon.

I had the opportunity to spend time with and learn from one of our pilots about the Alert Mission here at the 115th, and I walked away from that meeting feeling a sense of pride, strength and hardcore appreciation for the pilots who standby, ready to hit the skies at a moment’s notice.

They, along with the dedicated alert maintenance crews, work around the clock, literally 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. They ensure the jets are fully loaded and up-to-date on their maintenance checks, saving time should they need to get into the skies quickly. They can get from Truax to the skies above Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis in a matter of minutes – and are tested frequently on their speed and accuracy in various threatening and non-threatening situations using the Civil Air Patrol’s Cessna aircraft.

You see, we may have become an independent nation in 1776 – but each and every day our military still works to maintain that amazing privilege of independence our ancestors fought for. As the rest of us are outside watching the sparks fly on the fourth, remember those who are locked indoors – on call to protect our freedom here at home.


Photo by Capt. David Berget, Lacrosse Composite Squadron, Wisconsin Wing Civil Air Patrol



This blog is part of the recruiter’s series. Are you interested in becoming a pilot at the 115th? Visit or call 1-800-TOGOANG to get prequalified. From there you’ll be connected with one of our recruiters. They can fill you in on the application requirements!

About Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode

Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode is a photojournalist for the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin.