HomeNewsArticle Display

Hawaii guardsmen deliver airlift for exercise Southern Strike 19

U.S. Army Soldiers and vehicles from the 3rd Special Forces Group prepare to board a Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III

Soldiers and vehicles from the 3rd Special Forces Group prepare to board a Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 21, 2019, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg, Miss. The 204th Airlift Squadron transported personnel and vehicles to the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Miss., during exercise Southern Strike 19. The annual training is a total force, multi-service exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, and Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg from Jan. 15 through Jan. 30. The exercise emphasizes air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

Hawaii Air National Guard Airmen from the 154th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron service a C-17 Globemaster III

Hawaii Air National Guard Airmen from the 154th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron service a C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 21, 2019, during exercise Southern Strike 19 at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Miss. Southern Strike 19 is a total force, multi-service training exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport and Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg from Jan. 15 through Jan. 30. The exercise emphasizes air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

A pilot from the 204th Airlift Squadron lands a C-17 Globemaster III

A pilot from the 204th Airlift Squadron lands a C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 17, 2019, at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Miss. The aircrew conducted a nighttime-air-refueling mission during exercise Southern Strike 19. The annual training is a total force, multi-service exercise hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard’s Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, and Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg from Jan. 15 through Jan. 30. The exercise emphasizes air-to-air, air-to-ground and special operations forces training opportunities. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier)

GULFPORT, Miss. (AFNS) -- Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard held airlift operations Jan. 13 through 25 during a large-scale joint and multinational exercise in Gulfport.

Exercise Southern Strike 19 is hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard at Gulfport’s Combat Readiness Training Center – Battlefield Airmen Center. It provides participants the opportunity to build partnerships and maintain combat readiness for future missions.

“It’s nice to bring other units in, such as the Hawaii Air National Guard, and have their perspective on what we’re doing here,” said Col. Joseph E. Reid, CRTC base commander. “It’s a value added to them and a value added to us. We can also expose them to different units which come from different parts of the country.”

Approximately 2,000 service members from both the active and reserve components in every branch of the military participated in the combat exercise. The Hawaii participants are from the 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and a team of active-duty Airmen from the 15th Wing.

Capt. Evan Kurosu, 204th AS pilot and mission planner, said the exercise exposes his unit to challenges which are not easy to come by while stationed in Oahu. Southern Strike tested the Airmen’s readiness through a variety of obstacles, such as shorter runways, larger variations of cargo, low-level flying and staged threats to work around.

Over the two weeks of training, the Hawaii guardsmen airlifted members from several units on a C-17 Globemaster III to complete a series of wartime tasks, to include Army special forces and a team of distinguished visitors from the Chilean Army. Other activities entailed multiple cross-country flights to transport personnel and equipment from Fargo, N.D., air-refueling operations in the dark, high-altitude low-opening jumps, airdrop coordination and more.

After a year of planning and coordination, Kurosu said it was rewarding to watch his crew members complete the back-to-back training objectives. Exercise Southern Strike also served to help improve the Hawaii ANG’s ability to respond to natural disasters.

“Ultimately, one of the things that makes me proud to be a Hawaii Air National Guardsmen is that we do have specific mission sets. For example, humanitarian relief. So, when we execute our assault landings and other wartime scenarios, these proficiencies are still relevant when we get to do things like hurricane evacs or relief missions, like when we responded to Hurricane Maria (in 2017).”

The 204th AS's emergency-response capabilities can be called upon at any time, and their mission set is growing. The squadron is now extending its search and rescue skills with NASA and postured to rescue astronauts from downed spacecraft virtually anywhere in the Pacific.

Regardless of the call-to-duty, aircrew and maintenance personnel will always rely on their ongoing training to fight battles and save lives - especially when it comes to working with their joint and international partners.

“Today’s military is all about working together in a joint environment, and that’s what we’re all about – whether it’s here or back at home,” said Brig. Gen. Barry Blanchard, Mississippi Air National Guard chief of staff. “The more exposure you get to it, the better off we’re all prepared for the next event.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Find out why these @455thAEW #Airmen must race against time in order to 'detect' and 'protect' in their deployed en… https://t.co/jzSl24cxZ2
.@USAFReserve Chief recently approved changes to the Active Guard Reserve program & plans to grow the program by si… https://t.co/at2UBLEa7q
"Without our @DeptofDefense and the components of it, & @FEMA, these #islands would not have been able to recover i… https://t.co/Zu25GmCMQC
We’re using #augmentedreality tech to provide more realistic training for our #maintainers, cutting time & breaking… https://t.co/kzfErH8tmP
RT @SecAFOfficial: Strong words from @SenFischer: The face of 21st century warfare is changing. We must meet this challenge head on. The U.…
Thanks to the partnerships #Airmen built within their community, the @Dodgers hosted the first Los Angeles “Enlistm… https://t.co/B6dYDIfVvB
Election to the @theNAEng is among the highest professional distinctions afforded to an #engineer. For one #USAF en… https://t.co/iCL59ciOxD
.@HQ_AFMC modernizes aircrew safety with new technology. https://t.co/eBpCF3gk33
What would you do if you witnessed a severe car accident? This @MacDill_AFB #Airman's quick thinking ultimately sav… https://t.co/K1cacCZAab
An #F16 flies over the coast of #Florida during a training sortie during a deployment @45thSpaceWing, Feb. 4. (Air… https://t.co/XgQEIpNI4p
RT @SecAFOfficial: We make it real. Fielding solutions faster & smarter. @usairforce https://t.co/n4kCs4WvPi https://t.co/EyZgqgpd9M
RT @AirmanMagazine: This hands-on training exposes Flight Nurse and Aeromedical Technician Course students to various types of wartime inju…
RT @AFThunderbirds: #blackhistorymonth: In 1964, Lloyd “Fig” Newton’s interest peaked when he saw the #afthunderbirds demonstration perform…
Meet Eden. She's not just a therapy dog; she’s a liaison of information between the #USAF and the @USArmy.… https://t.co/hVXFubZws7
The #USAF's partnership w/ the #RoK continues to build through joint training. Find out how this #pilot's training… https://t.co/Qb12jUdTHr
Coaching is much more than something this #Airman does on the side. Helping #Airmen stay physically #resilient is a… https://t.co/Bh2euH1SRb
Haven't been keeping up with #USAF news lately? No worries! Check out our most recent #AroundtheAirForce for a quic… https://t.co/UaaicUPk33
#AirForce maintainers assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing work to lower the nose landing gear on a #C5M Super Ga… https://t.co/Fvk6cJSJS9
#Cybersecurity ALERT! A fake website for the @DeptofDefense Transition Assistance Program has been identified. Pro… https://t.co/PwMooTTUvp