News: Idaho’s Kotter family trains together in New Mexico
Story by Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- A family of three were among the more than 150 Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard's 124th Fighter Wing who came here Nov. 3 for a weeklong deployment exercise.
Chief Master Sgt. Kris Kotter and his daughters Airman 1st Class Jessica and Airman 1st Class Kendra Kotter serve together in the 124th Maintenance Group, a close-knit group of aircraft repair specialists who maintain everything from ejection seats to engines on the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Chief Kotter is the component maintenance flight chief in the 124th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, while his daughters work as crew chief apprentices in the 124th Maintenance Squadron.
The New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Fighter Wing based here is hosting the Idaho unit during the weeklong exercise, allowing them to utilize their air space and ramp space to gain some valuable deployment exercise training.
Pilots are able to execute the A-10's mission of close air support and combat search and rescue in the air, while maintainers ensure the aircraft are mission ready prior to each sortie. The support from the host unit has been valuable, said Chief Kotter.
"We were concerned about the facilities and support coming here, but when we arrived we saw the work that the 150th had done for us. The facilities are great, and the support has been very good," said Chief Kotter.
The chief's daughters are two of dozens of aircraft maintainers who are working on all of the 13 aircraft that made the 800-mile trip from Boise to
Chief Kotter's motivation for coming on the trip was simple: to see his daughters in action.
"To be able to see them work together on the flight line doing the job they were trained to do is really exciting," Chief Kotter said.
Out on the flight line, the two are gaining valuable training while working together closely, which is something they do not always get to do at home.
"It's been really fun. We have a sibling rivalry but it's a work area and we keep it professional," said Kendra, 19, who said she is excited about gaining more experience as a result of this training.
Jessica, 21, has been in the Idaho Air National Guard for three years.
Although she has more time in the unit than her sister, she said that she, too, values time spent on the flight line with her sister.
"Working back in Boise, there is more ancillary training and maintenance work, and less opportunity to get on the flight line," said Jessica.
The Kotters and the rest of the Idaho Air Guardsmen deployed here are expected to return to Gowen Field Nov. 10.