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Fighter exercise Sentry Aloha 19-1 completed

Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptors from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons taxi down the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam flight line Dec. 11, 2018

Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptors from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons taxi down the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam flight line Dec. 11, 2018, during exercise Sentry Aloha. Sentry Aloha entails back-to-back training sorties with visiting fighter units from the Navy and other Air National Guard partners from nine states. It also provides participants a multi-faceted, joint venue with supporting infrastructure and personnel that incorporates current, realistic integrated training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

A Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptor approaches a Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker to receive aerial refueling Dec. 11, 2018, over the Pacific Ocean, near the Hawaiian Islands

A Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 Raptor approaches a Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker to receive aerial refueling Dec. 11, 2018, over the Pacific Ocean, near the Hawaiian Islands. Exercise Sentry Aloha provides tailored, cost-effective and realistic combat training for Air Force, Air National Guard and other Department of Defense services to provide warfighters with the skill sets necessary to perform their homeland defense and overseas combat missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

Master Sgt. Anthony Walter, 128th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, conducts air refueling operations with an U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Dec. 12, 2018

Master Sgt. Anthony Walter, 128th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator, conducts air refueling operations with a Navy F/A-18 Hornet, Dec. 12, 2018, over the Pacific Ocean as part of a routine Sentry Aloha exercise. The KC-135 Stratotanker offloaded 26,000 pounds of fuel to the visiting Hornets, from China Lake, Calif. during the training sortie. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mysti Bicoy)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet from China Lake, California, takes off from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during Sentry Aloha 19-1, Dec. 18, 2018

A Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet from China Lake, Calif., takes off from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, during exercise Sentry Aloha 19-1, Dec. 18, 2018. Sentry Aloha provides U.S. warfighters with the skill sets necessary to perform homeland defense and overseas combat missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman)

Maj. Mike Dirnberger and Capt. Andy Jaskie, Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker pilots, fly over the Pacific during an air refueling mission during Sentry Aloha 19-1, Dec. 13, 2018.

Maj. Mike Dirnberger and Capt. Andy Jaskie, Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker pilots, fly over the Pacific Ocean during an air refueling mission during Sentry Aloha, Dec. 13, 2018. Sentry Aloha is an ongoing series of exercises hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing enabling tailored, cost effective and realistic combat training for the Air National Guard, Air Force, and other Department of Defense services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- More than 800 Airmen, Sailors and Defense Department civilians from nine states completed exercise Sentry Aloha, a large-scale fighter exercise, , Dec. 19, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Hawaii Air National Guard exercise is held several times a year to provide aircraft with dissimilar combat training among participating flying and support units. The fighter aircraft consisted of the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons’ JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam-based F-22 Raptors, Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagles and Navy F-18 Hornets from China Lake, California.

The back-to-back combat training included in-air refueling by KC-135 Stratotankers from Iowa and Wisconsin Air National Guard air refueling units, a component that enables U.S. and partnered aircraft to operate virtually anywhere on the planet. Lt. Col. Matthew Ohman, Sentry Aloha exercise director, said the refueling capabilities maximized the fast-paced training.

“Exercises like this gives us a chance to just be part of the bigger picture and it builds confidence,” said Chief Master Sgt. Donald Strickland, 128th Air Refueling Wing chief boom operator, “especially for our younger pilots and boom operators. It gives them exposure to other types of receiving aircraft and to see how quickly it all happens, opposed to the routines we’re used to at our home station. This helps us know what to expect when it’s actually time to deploy.”

The integration of Hawaii’s fifth-generation Raptors and visiting fourth-generation fighters enabled aviators to enhance their aerial tactics and prepare for a multitude of war-fighting scenarios. The Department of Defense relies on joint efforts, such as exercise Sentry Aloha, to maintain air dominance and preserve the peace and stability throughout the Pacific region.

“Sentry Aloha is not only unique in its location in beautiful Hawaii, but it also provides some of the best joint training the Air Force has to offer,” said Ohman. “The focus of Sentry Aloha is to develop unit-specific, tailored scenarios that ensure the majority of tactical learning takes place in the airspace, not in the trenches of mission planning. This is unique from Flag exercises, which have inflexible scenarios given to units when they attend.”

While JBPH-H maintains fifth-generation fighters, it still upholds a permanent supply of aircraft-ground equipment to cater for visiting fourth-generation aircraft. Senior Master Sgt. Noel Demello, Sentry Aloha maintenance planner, said the readily-available equipment significantly lowers expenses because it reduces the need to airlift personnel and large-volumes of supplies used to generate aircraft.

Unlike past iterations of the exercise, more than 20 personnel from the 154th Mission Support Group were activated to operate the HIANG’s dining facility and provide around-the-clock meals, including ‘midnight chow,’ for hundreds of Airmen. Tech. Sgt. Priscilla Kim, 154th MSG dining facility manager, said this was the first time her Airmen have been asked to take on a tasking this large and it provided them much-needed experience for upcoming deployments, slated for next year. The freshly-cooked meals also saved time for exercise participants and cut down costs of overall training.

Due to the unpredictable nature of aircraft operations, mission planners always need to be prepared to for the possibility of an aircraft mishap. Sentry Aloha flights were suspended for one day on Dec. 12, in response to a civilian aircraft crash into the waters by Honolulu airport. The pilot, an exercise contractor, was able to successfully eject before impact and received care within minutes of landing.

“I was extremely proud to see how well we worked together after [the aircraft] went down shortly after takeoff last week,” said Ohman. “It was awesome to find out civilians from the community pitched in almost immediately to lend a helping hand in his recovery until the Coast Guard arrived. These extraordinary efforts by normal citizens is truly what makes me proud to be an American.”

The 199th Fighter Squadron is part of the 154th Wing, the largest wing in the Air National Guard. The Hawaii Air National Guard is comprised of nearly 2,500 Airmen whose federal mission is to be trained and available for active duty Air Force operational missions.

“Continual participation in events like this make us a stronger force,” said Col. Sean Sullivan, Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Operations Group commander. “These exercises are essential, not only for the pilots, but for the training and expertise of the maintainers, the aircrew flight equipment (Airmen), and our airfield managers. Its a lot more than the pilot flying the airplane to make that happen, and these exercises are a crucial part of us continuing to get better, as a team and as an Air Force.”

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