Arizona ANG F-16s
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Tigre 91,92 & 93 prepare to launch as part of the Red Air component of the final mission of TMOTA-01. Tigre flight, 4 x F-16C's from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Test Center (AATC) home based at Tucson IAP, AZ, were part of the force of 25 aircraft participating in the first ever 'Tiger Meet' held in the United States.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K25 200/f5.6
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© Peter Greengrass
Puma 61, a Tornado IDS from the German Air Force Tornado Training Center (GAFTTC) didn't have a very successful time at TMOTA '01. It broke immediately after arriving at Buckley, and missed the first two missions. Finally fixed? it is seen here taxiing out for the final mission, only to return with a problem a short time later!
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 28-70mm K25 200/F5.6
F-16DJ 91-0480 is operated by the 79th Fighter Squadron, representing Air Combat Command at the Tiger Meet. This Shaw based 'delta' model flew all its missions with the back seat occupied by USAF photographers - nice work if you can get it!
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K64 200/F8
F-15E 88-1707, callsign Simba 31, turns onto the active runway prior to launching on its Saturday Blue Air strike mission. The 391st Fighter Squadron wears orange and black tiger striped fin bands as part of its regular markings.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
F-15E 87-0169, 391st Fighter Squadron, the 'Bold Tigers' from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, heads towards the Buckley flightline prior to crew debriefing. In the background is one of several 'Golfballs' which weather-protect the huge satellite-commanding/data receiving antennas operated by the 21st Space Wing based at Buckley.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
CF-18B 188934 taxies to the runway 14 threshold as part of Cugar 51 flight during the Blue Air launch on the Saturday. All four attending aircraft were two seater's, which are fully combat capable and enabled maximum aircrew participation in the Large Force Exercise.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
'Cugar 51' ready to pounce. The Canadians maintained their reputation as competition star performers - being voted as TMOTA '01 overall winners. Flight operations, beautiful special markings, and a victory in the 'tug of war' all contributed to their success.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K64 200/F8
F-16C 86-0358, Redi 21, begins its takeoff roll under overcast skies during the Friday Blue Air launch from runway 14. The 120th Fighter Squadron is assigned to the 140th Wing, and previously operated A-7Ds before conversion to F-16s in 1992.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K64 250/F5.6

The Canadian Armed Forces have a fine tradition of specially painted aircraft to celebrate squadron birthdays and other special events. The RA 60 code and RAF type C roundel is in the style worn by 410 Squadron in 1941.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F5.6

The Saturday provided perfect photographic conditions. The 120th Fighter Squadron again flew Blue Air defensive missions, with eight aircraft involved. Here F-16C 87-0279 turns onto the active as 'Redi 23'.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K64 200/F8
'Cat 51' turns off runway 32 following its successful Red Air offensive mission to the UTTR. The 134th Fighter Squadron formerly operated ADF model F-16s before conversion to F-16Cs. The 'Catamount' Vermont state mascot was sufficient Tiger association for these guys. And why not?
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
Pride of place on the Buckley ramp, and wearing surely one of the most striking USAF special schemes of recent years, F-16C 87-0241- 'Each Fights Like a Tiger', or should that be Cougar?
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 28-70mm K25 125/F8
120th Fighter Squadron F-16C 87-0271, seen again on the ramp, this time soaking up the morning Colorado sunshine. As host unit for TMOTA '01, the 'Cougars' made a great case for honorary Tiger Association members.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 28-70mm K25 125/F8
F-16C 97-0722 is operated by the 63rd Fighter Squadron from Luke AFB in Arizona, representing Air Education & Training Command at TMOTA '01. The assigned Vipers flew with the usual 'Panthr' callsigns as part of the Red Air Strike package on the Saturday of the Tiger Meet.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K64 200/F8
SSgt Greg L. Davis, USAF photographer assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw, signals a successful photo-hop as 'Tiger 73' returns to the Buckley flightline. Greg seemed to have a permanent grin on his face during the Buckley deployment - perhaps explained by him having the best job in the world?
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
CF-18B 188904 was marked to celebrate 410 Squadron's 60th anniversary. The right hand fin artwork depicts a CF-101B Voodoo, with an 1940's era Mosquito on the left hand side.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K64 200/F8
A close in shot of 'Redi 21' during the Saturday Blue Air launch. This spot on the Buckley taxiway is perfect for afternoon photography with the runway itself elevated and none of the usual airfield clutter visible in the background.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 70-200mm K64 400/F5.6
F-16CJ Block 50 91-0365 assigned to the 79th 'Tigers' Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Wing holds short of the runway. The 'Tigers' brought the most aircraft to Buckley, 4 'CJ' models and one 'DJ'.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K64 250/F8
Visiting from Holloman AFB, New Mexico, and heading the Buckley flightline, was F-4F 72-1167 from the 20th Fighter Squadron, German Air Force Tactical Training Centre, part of the 49th Fighter Wing.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1N 28-70mm K25 125/F8
The 79th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, South Carolina has operated F-16CJ 91-0379 with colourful tiger markings for a number of years, it previously having attended the 1997 Nato Tiger Meet at RAF Fairford, England. Further 'Tiger Meet of the Americas 2001' titles were added for the Buckley event.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 28-70mm K25 125/F8
F-16C 90-0722 of the 63rd Fighter Squadron, turns off runway 32 in the late afternoon sunshine. The use of dedicated tankers enabled missions in excess of 4 hours, and meant that many of the fighters opted not to fly with underwing fuel tanks.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K64 400/F5.6
Representing the standard Canadian Armed Forces paint scheme, with no gloss red in sight, is CF-18B 188937. Being crowned champions means that 410 Squadron will host the next Tiger Meet of the Americas at Cold Lake, hopefully in 2003.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
F-16D 90-0778 is a MiG killer, although the green star is carried on the port side of the nose cannot be seen in this view. The kill relates to the first combat AMRAAM kill, of an Iraqi MiG-25 Foxbat on 27 December 1992, and the details are recorded inside the nosegear door.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
The calm before the storm. An impressive line up of F-16s on the Buckley flightline. In addition to the home based aircraft, some fifteen visiting Vipers were in attendance.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 180/F8
LF, SW, AZ and CO tailcodes are visible in this line-up, in addition to the Air National Guard 'Minuteman' markings carried by the Vermont Vipers. A mix of General Electric and Pratt & Whitney powerplants are evident, indicating the range of F-16 blocks present.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K64 180/F8
Two T-37Bs from the 89 FTS, part of the 80th FTW based at Sheppard AFB Texas, were amongst the Tiger Meet visitors, crewed by former Tiger Squadron pilots.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
The 79th Fighter Squadron at Shaw fly Block 50 F-16CJs in the 'Wild Weasel' or SEAD role (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences). These General Electric powered aircraft are the most up to date Vipers in the USAF inventory, and are configured to carry AGM-88 HARM missiles.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
85-1419 a F-16C from the AATC rolls on to to the runway at Buckley as part of the 'Red' Air package on Saturday. '419' came equipped with a Aim-9X, the latest in the Sidewinder family of air to air missiles.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K25 200/F5.6
59-1469 was one of two KC-135Rs of the 77th Aerial Refuelling Squadron to attend the Tiger Meet. The unit is assigned to Air Force Reserve Command at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. Along with Nebraska ANG tankers operating out of their home base at Lincoln MAP, the 'Totin Tigers' provided both boom and drogue refuelling services to the fighter packages over the three flying days of the exercise.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
The AATC aircraft all had small but stylish yellow 'Los Tigres' markings applied to the fuselage, in the position where many units display a falcon or unit associated animal.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K64 250/F8
The ANG & AFRC Test Centre is part of the 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson, Arizona, a unit which specializes in weapons evaluation over the Luke ranges. The actual 'Los Tigres' unit at Tucson is the 152nd Fighter Squadron, whose crews brought the four AATC F-16Cs to Buckley, including commander's aircraft 85-1405.
© Tim Hunter
EOS-5 28-70mm K25 125/F8
The ground crews were kept very busy during TMOTA...most of there work involved replacing drop tanks, chocks etc. that had mysteriously moved during the day!! From left to right...Tim Hunter, Andy Wolf, Doug Slowiak and Kev Jackson involved in some (officially sanctioned) cleaning up of the aircraft.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 28-70mm K25 125/F8
Crews from the 134th & 391st Fighter Squadrons step to their aircraft prior to the last TMOTA mission on Saturday.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 28-70mm K64 250/F8
The 'Los Tigres' from Arizona brought with them an 'Ace in the hole'...a brand new Aim-9X!, the latest in the Sidewinder family. It was not recorded whether this gave them an edge in the 'furballs' over Utah. Here crews from the AATC and 120th FS check it out.
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 28-70mm K64 200/F7.1
Returning after the final mission of TMOTA-01, Maj. Dirk 'Ecki' Eckhardt. A german intructor currently assigned to Sheppard AFB, Texas waves the 'flag'. The Tiger spirit was much in evidence during Missions, Games and at the Bar!
© Peter Greengrass
EOS-1V 70-200mm K64 250/F5.6
After the flying came the Tiger games. One event was the tug-of-war. Here's the 120FS team fighting it out in the final with the 410 TFS team, who eventually won.
© Kevin Jackson
EOS-1N 28-105mm K64 Flash
After a hard days flying it is another Tiger Meet tradition to make new friends over a few beers! A group shot next to the Bold Tiger car. From left to right: Andy Wolf, Kevin Jackson, Tim Hunter, SSgt Greg Davis (20FW, Photojournalist), Peter Greengrass and Maj Craig Wolf (CO ANG Tiger Meet organiser)
© SrA Scott Mathews
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With June 2001 marking the 40th NATO Tiger gathering at Kleine Brogel it is perhaps somewhat surprising that a Tiger Meet has never been organized outside of Europe. Over the last decade participation in the NATO event has notably reduced, with the disbanding or relocating of USAFE Tiger squadrons such as the 53rd and 79th Fighter Squadrons. Despite this there are a number of 'big cat' units based in the US that want to participate but cannot because of their on-going real world commitments and budget constraints. One such unit is the 'Cougars' of the 120th Fighter Squadron, Colorado ANG. With the intention of submitting themselves for Honorary Tiger Association membership they took on the challenge of organizing the first ever stateside Tiger Meet.

So the inaugural Tiger Meet Of The Americas (TMOTA) was born. With the initial aim of inviting Tiger and 'big cat' units from the US, Canada and Europe. It became clear almost immediately that European squadrons would be unable to attend, for the very reasons of cost and distance that this stateside event had been proposed in the first place. It was then decided to concentrate on limiting invitations to units from North and South America.

Major Mitch 'BC' Neff, one of those responsible for the overall co-ordination of the Tiger Meet, stated: 'Our objectives were to be successful, to get as many fighters here, and as much participation from not only the pilots but also the enlisted folks.' Additional goals were to include supporting the 120th Fighter Squadron's application for membership of the NATO Tiger Association, and to publicise the role and ongoing success of the European event to those on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

Although this first gathering was to be small in scale compared with the European meet, it is noteworthy that of the twenty five units originally invited to attend, eighteen showed serious interest, but ultimately only eight could make it happen. Those figures alone indicate the difficulty in creating such an event from scratch, with many invitees simply unaware of the NATO Tiger Association, and restricted by both operational commitments and financial constraints. The most ambitious invitations were sent to units from Ecuador and Chile, both of which unfortunately declined.

Almost a year after the planning of the event had commenced, during which time the 'Cougars' deployed to Incirlik, Turkey for Operation Northern Watch, TMOTA '01 became a reality between 8th and 13th August 2001.

Tiger Meet of the Americas 01 (TMOTA-01) Buckley AFB 8th -13th August 2001
Serial/Code Type Unit Command Callsigns * Remarks
TMOTA - Participants      
86-0338/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
86-0345/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
86-0358/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
86-0367/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
86-0368/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
86-0370/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
87-0241/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi Colorado ANG Special scheme - black tiger
stripes full aircraft over standard Falcon scheme
87-0254/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
87-0279/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
87-0339/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi  
88-0401/CO F-16C 120FS/140WG Colorado ANG Redi '140 WG' titles did not fly any missions
84-1265/AZ F-16C AATC/162FW Arizona ANG Tigre Yellow tigers head behind cockpit
84-1317/AZ F-16C AATC/162FW Arizona ANG Tigre Yellow tigers head behind cockpit
85-1405/AZ F-16C AATC/162FW Arizona ANG Tigre Yellow tigers head behind cockpit - AATC titles on fin
85-1419/AZ F-16C AATC/162FW Arizona ANG Tigre Yellow tigers head behind cockpit
83-1156 F-16C 134FS/158FW Vermont ANG Maple  
84-1229 F-16C 134FS/158FW Vermont ANG Maple  
89-2120/LF F-16C 63FS/56FW AETC Panther  
90-0722/LF F-16C 63FS/56FW AETC Panther  
90-0778/LF F-16D 63FS/56FW AETC Panther Mig kill
90-0781/LF F-16D 63FS/56FW AETC Panther  
91-0365/SW F-16CJ 79FS/20FW ACC Tiger  
91-0379/SW F-16CJ 79FS/20FW ACC Tiger Special tiger tail marks, including 'Tiger Meet
of the Americas 2001' titles
92-3923/SW F-16CJ 79FS/20FW ACC Tiger  
94-0047/SW F-16CJ 79FS/20FW ACC Tiger  
91-0480/SW F-16DJ 79FS/20FW ACC Tiger  
87-0169/MO F-15E 391FS/366WG ACC Tiger  
87-0208/MO F-15E 391FS/366WG ACC Tiger departed 9th did not fly any missions
88-1707/MO F-15E 391FS/366WG ACC Tiger  
188932 CF-18B 410 Sqn CAF Cougar  
188934 CF-18B 410 Sqn CAF Cougar  
188937 CF-18B 410 Sqn CAF Cougar  
188904 CF-18B 410 Sqn CAF Cougar Special 60th Anniversary scheme
45+01 Torrnado IDS GAFTTC GAF Roadrunner Went U/S did not complete any missions
59-1469 KC-135R 77ARS/916ARW AFRC Backy 'The Future is 'RS'
62-3542 KC-135R 77ARS/916ARW AFRC Backy 'Time Traveller' nose art
TMOTA - Support        
???? KC-135R 173ARS/155ARW Nebraska ANG Husker 25 Flying missions from Lincoln MAP
???? KC-135R 173ARS/155ARW Nebraska ANG Husker 26 Flying missions from Lincoln MAP
TMOTA - Visitors        
64-13453/EN T-37B 89FTS/80FTW AETC ?? Arrived 10th
64-13454/EN T-37B 89FTS/80FTW AETC ?? Arrived 10th
72-0167/HO F-4F 20FS/49FW GAFTTC ?? Arrived 10th
* Arrival/Departure callsigns, for mission callsigns see table below  
TMOTA -01 Missions
The Scenario...

Fifty years ago the country of Yooter had a civil war, resulting in the formation of two separate, sovereign nations, Katmendoo and Dawgnation. Wildcat and Kittycat, two small enclaves of ethnically Katmendoonese people, remained in Dawgnation territory. With the election of a new Dawgnationese president, Lhasa Apso, 12 months ago, the Katmendoonese people in the Wildcat and Kittycat enclaves have become increasingly oppressed. For the past six months, the Dawgnation regime has increased the oppression; rumors of genocide and relocation activities are circulating throughout the world press. Last month, NATO nations joined forces to punish Dawgnation for its human rights abuses with a lethal air campaign.

Blue Air
Red Air
  Unit # Type A/C Callsign     Unit # Type A/C Callsign
Thursday 9th August 2001 - Mission 12 v 5          
  77 ARS 1 x KC-135R Backy 77     77 ARS 1 x KC-135R Backy 78
MSN CC 120 FS 4 x F-16C Redi 21   MSN CC 410 FS 4 x CF-18B Cugar 41
  AATC 4 x F-16C Tigre 31     GAFTTC 1 x Tornado Puma 61 *
  63 FS 4 x F-16C Panthr 1          
Friday 10th August 2001 - Mission 10 v 4
  173 ARS 1 x KC-135R Husker 25     77 ARS 1 x KC-135R Backy 77
MSN CC 120 FS 4 x F-16C Redi 11   MSN CC 391 FS 2 x F-15E Simba 41
    2 x F-16C Redi 21     134 FS 2 x F-16C Cat 51
  79 FS 4 x F-16C Tiger 31          
Saturday 11th August 2001 - Mission 17 v 12
  173 ARS 1 x KC-135R Husker 25     173 ARS 1 KC-135R Husker 26
MSN CC 120 FS 4 x F-16C Redi 11   MSN CC 79 FS 4 x F-16C Tiger 71
    4 x F-16C Redi 21     63 FS 4 x F-16C Panthr 1
  391 FS 2 x F-15E Simba 31     AATC 4 x F-16C Tigre 91
  134 FS 2 x F-16C Cat 41          
  77 ARS 1 x KC-135 Backy 77          
  410 FS 4 x CF-18B Cugar 51          
  GAFTTC 1 x Tornado Puma 61 **          
* Puma 61 u/s did not fly ** Puma 61 took off but aborted and returned to base. MSN CC = Mission Commander

Tiger Arrivals
The event commenced with visiting fighters being required to 'Fight their way in' through the nearby Cheyenne Military Operating Area (MOA), where the 120th flew Combat Air Patrols, then arrive over the Buckley Tower at precisely predefined times. The units were given a time hack over the Buckley runway on arrival and although this was scored, Maj. Neff explained that there was another purpose to setting out the timed arrivals: "It gets it off to a good start, we need people to show up on time and it lets everyone know that - 'hey, we're serious about this Tiger Meet'. If we said 'ah, don't worry about it' - it would stretch the attitude out that we're just goofing off. We wanted this Tiger Meet to be not just the games, but also the flying, tactical part of it. It started the perception I guess."

F-16C 91-0379 (c) P.GreengrassFirst visitors to arrive at the 'Tigers Lair' were three F-16Cs and one F-16D of the 63rd Fighter Squadron 'Panthers' from Luke AFB, Arizona. From the same State came four F-16Cs of the ANG & AFRC Test Centre (AATC), part of the Arizona ANG's 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson, all wearing newly applied 'Los Tigres' markings. Two 'Bold Tigers' F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 391st Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho were next into the Buckley pattern. They were followed by four 'Cougars' CF-18B Hornets of 410 Squadron, Canadian Airforce from 4 Wing Cold Lake. One of which wore a stunning scheme commemorating the unit's 60th anniversary. Further special colours were provided by the 79th Fighter Squadron from Shaw AFB, South Carolina, with a specially marked F-16CJ accompanied by three more 'CJs' and a two seat 'DJ' model Viper. F-16C 87-0241 (c) P.Greengrass

The final arrivals were two KC-135Rs of the sole Air Force Reserve Command participant, the 'Totin' Tigers' of the 77th Air Refuelling Squadron from Seymour-Johnson AFB in North Carolina. In amongst all the feline activity, extras included a single Tornado from the German training unit at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, with a veteran Tiger crew, and two F-16Cs from the 134th Fighter Squadron, Vermont ANG. The latter unit appeared to be lacking in any genuine Tiger associations, but was invited to boost the numbers. In Major Neff's words 'We stretched it!', but the 'Green Mountain Boys' proved worthy additions to the line-up as the 'Catamounts', an Eastern Mountain Lion and the Vermont State mascot.

The 'Cougars' of the 120th Fighter Squadron fielded ten F-16Cs ready to pounce from the Buckley AFB Flightline' headed by 87-0241, wearing black tiger stripes to all its upper surfaces and the proud motto 'Each Fights Like a Tiger' on the fin.

Thanks & Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the following for their assistance prior to and during their visit to Buckley AFB:

Major Mitch 'BC' Neff, (120th FS, CO ANG) who along with his colleagues in the Colorado Air National Guard made us most welcome. Special thanks also to our escort for the three days we spent at Buckley, Senior Airman Chris Maes,(140th SFS) who had to put up with us and our numerous requests to go here, there and everywhere!. Also thanks go to all the TMOTA participants who made us feel very much part of the Tiger Team. Very special thanks also to Christoph Kugler, who not only originally informed us about this event but also did all of the arranging, phone calls and emailing, enabling us to get on to Buckley! We'd like to thank ace portrait shooter and good friend Doug Slowiak for all of his sterling work on the ramp at Buckley, it is always a pleasure watching Doug 'work a ramp'.

Let Battle Commence...
The primary activity of the Tiger Meet was to be the Large Force Employment exercise, flown over the course of three days. Major Neff explained that LFEs to the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) were a regular feature of operations from Buckley. 'We try to make it look as much like our contingency operations, 'train like you fight, fight like you train'. What we don't get to do a lot of is work with the East coast units such as Shaw. As for the Cold Lake folks, in the past few years we've all been too busy to get together with them. The Tiger Meet gives us an extra incentive to get together with those guys.'

Day two of TMOTA '01 was to see nineteen sorties successfully completed, with the tactical flying taking place over the UTTR, to the south-west of Salt Lake City. The Blue forces were required to defend predetermined targets from attacking (Red) forces in a scenario similar to that of the much larger 'Flag' and other major Nato exercises. Blue Air forces comprised four F-16s each from the 120th and 63rd Fighter Squadrons and AATC. En-route tanker support was provided by a KC-135R of the 173rd Aerial Refuelling Squadron of the Nebraska ANG, operating from its home base of Lincoln Municipal Airport (Gaining the unofficial title 'Nebraska Corn Tigers'). Red Air forces comprised the four 410 Squadron CF-18Bs and the sole Tornado, which was forced to ground abort. The Red Air supporting tanker, a KC-135R of the 'Totin' Tigers', was drogue-configured to refuel the probe equipped 'mud-movers'.

Eighteen sorties were launched on day three, with the 77th ARS boom refuelling the Red Air forces of the two F-15Es and two VTANG F-16s, whilst the six 120th FS and four 79th FS F-16s of Blue Air were again supported by 173rd ARS KC-135s from Lincoln.

Day four of the exercise saw a mass launch of all thirty four assigned aircraft. On this occasion the Shaw, Luke and Tucson F-16s formed Red Air, with the Colorado, Mountain Home, Vermont and Cold Lake units flying Blue Air defensive missions on what was to be an extremely busy afternoon at the UTTR.

All three flying days of the exercise were planned for a high degree of realism. The assignment of dedicated tankers to both attacking and defending forces enabled missions in excess of four hours duration, and maximum use was made of the UTTR ground threats - with electronic simulations of long, medium and short range Surface to Air missiles (SAMs). The flying phase was judged to be a great success, enabling high value dissimilar air combat training between units that would otherwise rarely meet, and tactical flying in a high threat environment.

Tiger Games & Winners
Away from the flight operations, the Tiger spirit was encouraged through softball, golf, skeet, and highly competitive 'crud'and 'tug-of-war' contests, with both air and ground crews taking part. Maj. Neff explained that the TMOTA is trying to follow the Tiger Meet tradition of mixing business with pleasure: " We try to focus on the social events along with the flying to achieve a good balance of fun and work. Because this was now a 140th WG function - although it was the 120th FS that got the ball rolling - we wanted to include everybody on base. We wanted to get Life Support services, Transportation, the Security Police and the maintainers out on the ramp involved and just to interact with all the other squadrons, that was our goal." Maj. Neff also stressed how the events were designed to enable all the support personnel to feel a part of the event, "We did not want it to look like it was just a pilot thing."

Although the 'Cougars' of the home based 120th FS are not yet members of the Tiger Association, the accolades that they received from the attending units suggest that honorary or indeed full member status is deserved after the effort that went into organizing this event. Major Neff concluded: 'This kind of thing validates what we do and proves that the Guard can do it, the 120th Fighter Squadron and the 140th Wing can do it.'

The host unit is traditionally unable to win the Tiger Meet. Flying performance, 'Tiger Games' results and overall attitude were all considered in a straight vote for the winning team. 410 Squadron from Cold Lake, Canada, were subsequently chosen as Tiger Meet of the Americas 2001 winners, with all other participants a close run joint second! The hope is that the event will continue on a biennial basis, and tentative plans are already underway for the '410 Cougars' to host TMOTA '03 at Cold Lake. The Tiger spirit in North America is very much alive, and the desire is certainly in place for this event to grow from these small beginnings to become equal in status to the European NATO Tiger Meet.
Tiger Car
The 'Bold Tigers' from Mountain home brought their newly modified cabriolet Monarch Mercury to Colorado. This unique automobile was a regular sight over the four days around Buckley, spotted at Flight Operations, Burger King, and The Camana Club. It was also allegedly involved in a traffic citation being issued by the base SPs for driving on the sidewalk!
© Tim Hunter
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