104th Fighter Wing

F-15 fighter jets like this one were flown Tuesday on a training mission over the White Mountains by 104th Fighter Wing pilots from Barnes Air National Guard Base of Westfield, Mass. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — If you thought you heard a loud, booming noise on Tuesday morning in the Mount Washington Valley, it wasn't your imagination. Or an avalanche.

It turns out that members of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard were performing training exercises in this neck of woods in F-15 jets.

The loud noises shook the ground in areas of Bartlett and Jackson and went on for about 20 minutes on Tuesday between about 10-10-10:30 a.m.

Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey from the 104th Fighter Wing confirmed it was a crew from Barnes Air National Guard Base stationed in Westfield, Mass., that was making all the racket.

“That was us flying out in your area,” she said on Wednesday morning. “We were doing our regular training, continuing to train.”

Avey said that while this isn’t the 104th's normal training air space, pilots “do training out that way.”

While there was more than one F-15 in the sky, Avey could not divulge how many planes in total were here.

“Normally, we don’t give out that information because of training ops,” she said.

The 104th Fighter Wing, according to its website, “is an operational flying unit assigned to the Air Combat Command, and proudly claims the honor of being one of the oldest flying units within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“Tasked to provide operationally ready combat units, combat support units and qualified personnel for active duty, the 104th Fighter Wing supports Air Force wartime contingency requirements and performs a variety of peacetime missions required by the Air Force and compatible mobilization readiness.

Its mission: “To maintain highly trained, well-equipped and motivated military forces in order to provide combat-ready F-15 aircraft and support elements in response to wartime and peacetime tasking under state and federal authority."

Originally designed in 1968 by McDonell Douglas, the F-15 Eagle is “an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield,” the website states.

“The Eagle's air superiority is achieved through a mixture of unprecedented maneuverability and acceleration, range, weapons and avionics.

“It can penetrate enemy defense and outperform and outfight any current enemy aircraft. The F-15 has electronic systems and weaponry to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft while operating in friendly or enemy-controlled airspace. The weapons and flight control systems are designed so one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat.”

The 158th Fighter Wing, better known as the Green Mountain Boys, from the Vermont Air National Guard also trains over the White Mountains in a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which, according to its website, “is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft. It is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions while also providing electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.”

This time, however, "it wasn’t us,” 1st. Lt. Chelsea Clark of the Vermont Air National Guard said Tuesday afternoon by phone.

“We were training over the Adirondacks (in northeastern New York state).”

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