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Inaugural air defense exercise hailed successful

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. --

Participants across the U.S. aerospace-defense enterprise agree – the inaugural Aerospace Control Alert Cross Tell Live Fly Exercise held here May 23-25 was a successful, integrated team effort.

"This is an amazing experience for us to get all members of the engagement team, from U.S. Secret Service to air defense sectors, to U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, to the Air National Guard to talk about how we do things to optimize how we use the engagement chain for defense of the U.S," said Col. Bradford Everman, 177th Operations Group Commander.

The most valuable training, according to the CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) commander, was the interagency piece.

“We all work to execute the same mission, but not necessarily physically side by side like this exercise scenario allowed us to do,” said Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams. “We actively engage homeland, regional and interagency partners to build and strengthen our relationships to ensure safe skies in the continental United States. This exercise helped us ensure we can flawlessly execute our “no-fail” mission.”

Participants included Air National Guard F-16 Viper fighter aircraft and aircrews from the 113th Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.; 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C.; 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport, N.J, U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin helicopters and aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J, Civil Air Patrol Cessna 206,182, and 172 aircraft and aircrews from the Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Wings and weapon system air defense controllers from the Eastern and Western air defense sectors in the United States.

The training scenarios replicated airborne intercepts of aircraft that fly into airspace the FAA has established as “temporarily flight restricted airspace.” Temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, are established by the FAA and enforced by the North American Aerospace Defense Command during high-visibility national-events such as the political nominating conventions, the Super Bowl, State of the Union Address, as well as presidential travel. The FAA posts TFR information in affected areas as notices to airmen to warn general aviation pilots prior to flight about the temporarily-prohibited airspace on their website at www.tfr.faa.gov.

"This was a very successful week for the Coast Guard, conducting our Rotary Wing Air Intercept portion of the mission. We got a lot of people out on sorties and got them exposure that they need to see how we support our piece of the air defense mission," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Eric Turner, an MH-65D pilot at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

The exercise was carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR has safely escorted all violators out of restricted airspace. Additionally, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and flown approximately 68,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.

Civil Air Patrol's volunteer pilots and aircrew flew single-engine Cessna airplanes to act as tracks of interest that violate restricted airspace for this exercise. By utilizing the selfless service of the Air Force Auxiliary as a total force partner during these missions, real-world training can be conducted at a fraction of the cost compared to utilizing other United States Coast Guard or Air Force aircraft. Civil Air Patrol is a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress more than 75 years ago. Learn more about their stories of volunteer service at www.cap.news.

For more information on CONR’s air defense mission visit www.facebook.com/americasaoc or www.1af.acc.af.mil.