MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Air National Guard hosted the week-long joint training exercise Sentry Storm 2021 across various locations July 19-23.
The exercise at Yeager Field, Camp Branch in Logan County, Shepherd Field in Martinsburg and in the skies over West Virginia involved about 500 personnel from the Air and Army National Guard, U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve, U.S. Navy and Civil Air Patrol from 16 units in eight states.
Maj. David Groom, director of Sentry Storm 2021, said West Virginia offers the ideal location for this type of training due to its unique topography and multitude of airfields.
“West Virginia is very unique in that we are able to have all the different venues and the sights nearby that we’re able to make things work logistically and just have it be successful,” said Groom.
This year’s Sentry Storm exercise focused on Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concepts to rapidly deploy, disperse and maneuver combat capability throughout a theater to seize air superiority, execute command and control, and deliver decisive combat effects, allowing participants to hone skills needed to prevail over near-peer competitors.
Events included dirt landing zone and sling load operations, airdrops, aeromedical evacuation, and forward operating base ground training.
“It’s a really good opportunity to rehearse just like we would go fight,” said Brig. Gen. William Crane, West Virginia adjutant general.
Crane said the exercise also allows for better interagency and joint service communication.
“The biggest preparation here is learning to communicate with each other,” said Crane. “Learning to talk to each other, how we talk to each other and learning to work together under one exercise is what’s really important here.”
In all, 21 aircraft, including C-130’s, C-17 Globemaster’s, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters, A-10 Warthog’s, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and a UH-1N Huey helicopter, conducted more than 150 sorties during the exercise.