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    HomeMilitaryRed Tails Soar with F-35s in Sentry Savannah Exercise, Enhancing Combat Capabilities

    Red Tails Soar with F-35s in Sentry Savannah Exercise, Enhancing Combat Capabilities

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    In a remarkable showcase of aerial prowess and strategic military evolution, the 187th Fighter Wing, also affectionately known as the “Red Tails,” soared through the skies in their first exercise deployment with the formidable F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.

    Sentry Savannah is the premier large force exercise of the Air National Guard, aimed at enhancing the air combat capabilities of modern fighter jets.

    This annual event at the Air Dominance Center brings together fighter units from across the nation to train in a realistic, simulated environment.

    “This is our first F-35 movement and our first exercise in nearly two years. So, our Airmen are facing many unfamiliar obstacles and challenges, and are doing a great job of dealing with that adversity. While we aren’t where we want to be yet, it’s obvious that we will get there in time,” said Col. Casey Hall, Operations Group Commander of the 187th Fighter Wing.

    “With more repetition, our pilots and Airmen will continually learn and improve so they’re prepared for any situation in any environment.”

    “Being here gives us a little taste of what deploying with the F-35s would look like. Being able to maintain the aircraft away from home station is always a challenge when all the tools are not readily available,” said MSgt. Justin Kesler, Low Observable Section Leader of the 187th Maintenance Group.

    Electro-optical target sensor (EOTS) on the F-35 12-5054

    “This type of exercise allows us to find flaws in processes and procedures and innovate new methods to become more efficient.”

    During the exercise, Airmen from the 187th Fighter Wing practiced generating aircraft to fight in a simulated battlespace spanning over 50,000 square miles along the eastern seaboard.

    The intensive training covered various aspects of air combat, including ground team coordination, offensive and defensive counter-air maneuvers, and intercepting simulated cruise missiles.

    The exercise offers a comprehensive training environment that simulates the full spectrum of modern warfare, ensuring warfighters are prepared for any contingency.

    “Although much of our training is aircraft specific, Sentry Savannah offers a unique ability to integrate with other platforms (F-22, F-16, F-15, KC-135, KC-46) in large force exercises over extended pieces of airspace,” said Capt. David Alman, a pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron.

    “This really showcases the capabilities of the F-35, provides more realistic training, and gives pilots great learning experiences we wouldn’t normally get in daily training.”

    The mission for the unit at Sentry Savannah was to enhance readiness, lethality, and continue honing their combat skills with the newly acquired fifth-generation aircraft.

    The exercise included over six units and more than 40 aircraft, demonstrating the extensive training capacity and commitment to maintaining peak combat readiness within the Air National Guard.

    These operations underscore the importance of leveraging the synergy between America’s most valuable defense asset—its service members—and cutting-edge technology to maintain a strategic advantage globally.

    Relevant articles:
    Red Tails participate in their first exercise with the F-35s., 187th Fighter Wing (.mil)
    35s in Air National Guard’s Sentry Savannah Exercise – Alert 5, Alert 5
    Red Tails participate in ACE exercise, National Guard Bureau (.mil)

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