Guard exercise offers Tyndall Airmen unique training opportunities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Solomon Cook
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, participated in the Air National Guard’s largest fighter integration, air-to-air training exercise at Savannah Air National Guard Base from July 26-Aug. 5.

Exercise Sentry Savannah 16-3 included fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft.

Airmen from the 43rd Fighter Squadron and the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron focused on dissimilar air combat training, which gave units the opportunity to train with and against multiple unique aircraft.

“It is a great opportunity to come out here and work not only with the T-38 Talons, but also the F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-18 Hornets and KC-135 Stratotankers,” said Capt. Troy Pierce, the 43rd FS A-Flight commander. “It is a chance to work with different assets that we don’t have at Tyndall.”

The exercise was also an opportunity for Tyndall’s F-22 B-Course students to put their class work to the test in a safe, controlled environment before going out to the combat theater.

“We put them in a dynamic and stressful training environment to put the skillsets they have learned to the test,” Pierce said. “It gives them the opportunity to see if they can perform at the level they are required to do in the combat Air Force. It is important for us to go on the road like this to exercise that mobile capability.”

The importance of bringing Tyndall’s F-22 Raptors to Savannah was not limited to the geographical advantages of training site. Sentry Savannah’s facilities make it a prime destination for supporting these types of exercises.

“The Air Dominance Center is a top-notch facility, from the mission planning area to the vaults,” Pierce said. “It also is a centralized location for other assets to participate and also stay here if need be.”

The F-22 is a key component of air dominance contributing to a variety of missions, such as escort and defensive counter-air missions, among others, Pierce said.

Along with the aircraft, Tyndall AFB brought its most important asset – the Airmen. Exercises like Sentry Savannah give Airmen a chance to prepare for projecting combat airpower worldwide.

“For Airmen to get out of home station and be able to go the road, it gives them more experience for deployment and temporary duty assignments,” said Master Sgt. John B. Hatfield II, the 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-22 production superintendent. “This aids the Airmen to become a more cohesive unit. At home you have all the distractions of home; here we have one mission to do – training pilots.”

Hatfield also spoke of the importance of working together.

“Usually back home, not all the shops come out on the flightline unless called upon,” Hatfield said. “In this location, we have all the back shops out here with us. It’s all one big team and one big unit to get the job done.”