Red Tails Enhance Readiness at Sentry Savannah

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hayden Johnson
  • 187th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Red Tails conducted an 11-day wing deployment to Savannah Air National Guard Base, Ga., April 8-18, 2019 to participate in exercise Sentry Savannah 19-2.

The 187th Fighter Wing deployed approximately 500 personnel and 13 F-16C+ Fighting Falcons to enhance mission readiness, lethality, and hone their combat skills in the training environment.

The multi-unit exercise provided opportunities for the wing's aircraft and pilots to integrate with F-15C Eagles from Florida ANG's 125th Fighter Wing, KC-135 Stratotankers from both Illinois ANG's 126th Air Refueling Wing and Iowa ANG's 185th Air Refueling Wing, Command and Control from Oregon ANG's 116th Air Control Squadron, and Draken International adversary aircraft in a variety of scenarios.

The wing also conducted a two-day Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE) in conjunction with
Sentry Savannah.

"This exercise is to help the wing practice the war time environment," said Master Sgt. David Shuster, 187th FW inspector coordinator and acting exercise planner. "We've gone to a base that we are not used to operating at and the wing has had to set up operations, and deal with the complications that come with not having the normal infrastructure we are used to.

"On top of that, we're in a (simulated) contested environment," he continued. "We're having to defend ourselves and defend the base and fight off the enemy."

During the ORE, mission readiness was tested through simulated events and training in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear warfare, and high yield explosives (CBRNE) while Airmen continued to accomplish individual missions.

"Just like any training, repetition helps," Shuster said. "The first time you do anything, you're not going to be perfect at it, but the more you do it, the more you improve, and the better you get at it."

The purpose of OREs and exercises like Sentry Savannah is to simulate the stresses and unpredictability of combat beyond what the Red Tails practice every day at Dannelly Field.

"Our ability to deploy combat ready Airmen and aircraft has been tested and on display throughout this exercise." said Col. William Sparrow, 187th FW commander. "It's through training environments like this, where mistakes can be made, we can learn and strengthen our ability to adapt and overcome."