RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio --
Airmen with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio Air National Guard participated with more than 1500 military personnel and contractors in Emerald Warrior 17 based out of Hurlburt Field, Fla. Feb. 27, through March 10.
Emerald Warrior is a U.S. Special Operations Command exercise during which joint special operations forces train to respond to various threats across the spectrum of conflict.
Participants in the 10th iteration of this exercise included special operation forces from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps as well as partner nation forces from France, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Approximately 250 of those military personnel and assets came from other National Guard and Reserve units around the United States, including KC-135 Stratotankers from the 121st ARW, 151st ARW, and 185th ARW.
“Without the support of air refueling, the mission would not be able to continue as smoothly,” said Lt. Col. Troy Smith, a pilot with the 121st ARW. “It is especially critical that we support aerial refueling when we have troops in contact. It’s all about supporting the guys on the ground.”
Although the exercise was based out of Hurlburt Field, training events included the use of Eglin Air Force Base, MacDill AFB, Florida, Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Melrose Range in New Mexico and Fort Knox in Kentucky.
“The key to airpower is flexibility,” said Maj. Scott Mettle, a pilot with the 121st ARW. “The crews ability to push up or slide back takeoff times, change flight plans or change refueling areas and receivers on the fly was crucial to make the exercise a success.”
The maintainers from each participating tanker unit worked together to have all three tankers ready to go for every flight.
If one of the jets broke down, they had it up and running within 24 hours or less to maintain mission readiness, said Mettle.
This is the third year the 121st ARW has participated in Emerald Warrior.