Fairchild, McConnell tankers fuel NORAD exercise
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 04, 2015
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFNS) -- A tanker task force assembled from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, and the 22nd ARW from McConnell AFB, Kansas, joined approximately 300 military personnel and 15 aircraft in exercise Amalgam Dart 15-2 May 26-June 1.
The annual North American Aerospace Defense Command exercise affords American and Canadian forces field training aimed at improving NORAD's operational capability in a binational environment.
"It's a great training event that equips our forces, American and Canadian alike, with real-world experience working alongside our NORAD partners in a safe training environment," said Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Stephen Hinks, a 437rd Transport Squadron pilot. "It's great to see how well we work together as a tanker task force in the high Arctic."
Hinks, along with several tanker crews from Fairchild AFB and McConnell AFB, said the exercise was a great success, and it prepared and trained them for most contingencies that support NORAD's mission.
"It was a great experience working with the Canadians and really honing in on how we can best support each other at home and downrange," said Staff Sgt. Shawna Sims, a 92nd Air Refueling Squadron boom operator.
The exercise spanned two forward operating locations in Canada's Northwest Territories, two U.S. Air Force bases in Alaska, and a mobile radar site in Resolute, Nunavut, as well as the sky over much of NORAD's area of responsibility.
U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers, alongside RCAF CC-130T Hercules and CC-150T Polaris tanker crews, had numerous opportunities to practice bilateral aerial refueling with aircraft ranging from U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles and RCAF CF-18 Hornets, to F-22 Raptors, an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and a B-52H Stratofortress.
"Amalgam Dart helps to strengthen our homeland defensive strategies by practicing the plans we have developed and identifying where we can improve," said Maj. James Lamb, the co-tanker task force detachment commander and a 22nd Operations Group member.
This year's Amalgam Dart built on previous years' training successes when deploying air assets to the north exercising sovereignty operations in North America's northern aerospace and in the high Arctic.
Lamb said the team benefited from the many good lessons the exercise provided.
"This exercise brought together multiple U.S. tanker bases and forward operating assets, placing us side by side with our Canadian allies," he said. "We've had a great time putting this exercise together and executing the mission. With both countries working together, we can support more of the assets available to commanders for strategic homeland defense."