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U.S. Air National Guard units support 2021 Formidable Shield exercise

U.S. Air Force KC-135

Airmen from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing move a Hammonds FSII (fuel system icing inhibitor) or “Fizzy” cart in place in order to begin refueling a U.S. Air Force KC-135 on the flight line at the Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, Scotland on May 18, 2021. The portable fuel injection system is used to add deicing fuel additive during ground refueling. Air Guard Airmen and their refueling aircraft are in Scotland providing air refueling support as part of NATO exercise Formidable Shield. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15E

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force KC-135

A U.S. Air Force KC-135 Statotanker from the Maine Air National Guard taxis past a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster from March Air Reserve base at the at the Glasgow Prestwick International Airport in Prestwick, Scotland on May 18, 2021. Units from the U.S. Air Force and Reserve components are in Scotland providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

KC-135 Boom Operator

Tech. Sgt. Barry Amick a KC-135 boom operator with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing works at the navigators table in a U.S. Air Force KC-135 prior to departing for an air refueling mission at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Prestwick, Scotland on May 18, 2021. Members of the Iowa Air Guard are in Scotland providing air refueling support as part of NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

KC-135 aircrew

Aircrew from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing pilot a U.S. Air Force KC-135 off the West coast of Scotland where they are providing refueling support during exercise Formidable Shield 2021 while based at the Glasgow Prestwick airport in Scotland. Formidable Shield is a multinational maritime exercise designed test participating NATO nation’s integrated air and missile defense systems using NATO command and control. U.S. Air National Guard photo: Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

KC 135 Boom operator
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KC-135 boom operator, Tech. Sgt. Barry Amick, of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, looks out of the boom operators window for receivers while laying in the boom pod of a U.S. Air Force KC-135 over the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. Amick is in Scotland providing air refueling support as part of NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15
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A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

KC-135 Copilot
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KC-135 pilot, 1st Lt. Tanner Boyle, from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing performs preflight checks as the copilot in a U.S. Air Force KC-135 at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Prestwick, Scotland on May 18, 2021. The Iowa Air Guard aircrew is in Scotland providing air refueling support as part of NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

U.S. Air Force F-15
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A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receives refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place this week in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

KC-135 aircraft on the ramp in Prestwick, Scotland
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The tails of three U.S. Air Force KC-135 air refueling aircraft from the Ohio, Maine and Iowa Air National Guard on the ramp at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Prestwick, Scotland on May 18, 2021. The Air Guard refueling aircraft from Ohio’s 121st, Maine’s 101st and Iowa’s 185th Air Refueling Wings are in Scotland providing air refueling support as part of NATO exercise Formidable Shield. Formidable Shield is a multinational exercise, taking place in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean around the United Kingdom and Norway. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

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B-roll video shows a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Lakenheath, Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom receiving refuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing while off the West Coast of Scotland on May 18, 2021. The 48th FW and 185th ARW are both providing support for NATO exercise Formidable Shield 21. U.S. Air National Guard units from Iowa, Maine and Ohio are in the United Kingdom this week participating in multinational missile defense exercise Formidable Shield 2021. “Formidable Shield” is a biennial, live-fire exercise designed to test participating nations integrated air and missile defense systems using NATO command and control. The maritime defense exercise, hosted by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th fleet and the British Royal Navy covers a large geographical area, but is based in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Hebrides Range in the Western Isles of Scotland. Over 3,000 participants from the nations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved in the exercise that will conclude the first week of June. While concentrated in the United Kingdom, the various nations are operating from sea and land locations across Europe.

Prestwick, Scotland, United Kingdom -- U.S. Air National Guard units from Iowa, Maine and Ohio are in the United Kingdom this week participating in multinational missile defense exercise Formidable Shield 2021.

“Formidable Shield” is a biennial, live-fire exercise designed to test participating nations integrated air and missile defense systems using NATO command and control.

The maritime defense exercise, hosted by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th fleet and the British Royal Navy covers a large geographical area, but is based in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Hebrides Range in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Over 3,000 participants from the nations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved in the exercise that will conclude the first week of June. While concentrated in the United Kingdom, the various nations are operating from sea and land locations across Europe.

Three KC-135 air refueling units from Iowa’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, Maine’s 101st ARW and Ohio’s 121st ARW are supporting the exercise where they are part of U.S. Air Force and NATO air operations. The nature of air refueling mission allows the air refueling units to conduct their air operations from the Glasgow Prestwick International airport in Prestwick, Scotland.

Major Noelle Jacobs, a pilot with Iowa’s 185th ARW said staging the air refueling operations at the Prestwick airport also allows the refueling assets to be in close proximity to the exercise area of operation.

Jacobs said there are amenities associated with operating from a civilian airport, but she added that the tanker units needed to bring a lot of extra equipment with them in order to ensure continuous operations. She said preparation for the exercise meant traveling with a plane load of support equipment and supplies normally available when operating from a fully functioning military air base.

“It is similar to setting up at a forward operating base,” Jacobs said, when commenting on the weeks of preparation prior to the exercise.

Jacobs said while the objectives of the exercise are key, she added that the opportunity to fly overseas and operate outside of their home environment is also a great learning environment for both new and veteran members of the aircrew.

“It is a very fluid environment,” Jacobs commented, when talking about the need to be able to adjust to sudden changes. “For us this is also an exercise in aviation management.”

The primary mission of the KC-135 is to provide air refueling support for the U.S. military and partner nation aircraft.

The U.S. Air Force has one permanent air refueling component in Europe, the 100th ARW located at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom. The 100th ARW is responsible for providing air refueling support for the European and African areas of responsibility.

The National Guard refueling support during the exercise helps alleviate additional strain on the active component during large exercises like Formidable Shield.  Jacobs said being part of the exercise also demonstrates how fully integrated the National Guard is as part of global operations of the U.S. Air Force.

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