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Supporting Freedom - Members from the 117th Support Large Scale Exercise

KC-135R Takes Off During Training Mission

A KC-135R Stratotanker takes off during a training mission at the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Sumpter Smith Joint National Guard Base, Birmingham, Alabama May 21, 2014 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Ken Johnson)

SUMPTER SMITH JNGB, Ala. --

Airmen from the 117th Air Refueling Wing supported exercise Neptune Falcon in Phoenix, Az. from Oct. 16 to Oct. 24, 2020.

The exercise spanned eight days in which airmen from the 117 ARW worked with airmen from other units from across the United States in this “Interoperability Exercise” to make the mission happen.

According to U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Ashley Smith, an Integrated Electronics Specialist, our role in the exercise is what we do best, refueling.

“We generally are supporting refueling for multiple aircraft across the Air Force inventory,” Smith said. “It’s used as training to work in conjunction with each other … It’s for all the pieces of the Air Force’s inventory to work together at once to carry out a specific mission.”

While the members here were supporting the refueling mission, he also added that the KC-135 wasn’t the only aircraft in the sky.

U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. James Jackson, the customer service supervisor of the 117th Logistics Readiness Squadron, explained that it was a good demonstration of always being ready and being capable of supporting the mission.

“We had to get everything when we got there. We just had to adjust as it went on,” Jackson said. “It was great training. The 117 LRS benefited greatly from it from a training perspective. Our plan is to get our people involved as much as possible for the training.”

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