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Some Iowa Air Guard Members Focused on New Mission

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Nearly 300 people have been training on a new mission for the Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines: drone control.

Since the end of the manned F-16 flight program for the National Guard's 132nd Fighter Wing was announced a year ago, 290 people were chosen for training and full-time work on controlling the four MQ-9 Reaper aircraft.

Col. Kevin Heer told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday that of the 1,002 personnel at the local base, more than 600 did not have the skill set needed for the new missions. More than half of the base was trained and transferred from the F-16 program to another mission. Those waiting for assignments are still performing maintenance on aircraft from other states.