BELLE CHASSE, La. - The Louisiana National Guard’s 159th Fighter Wing conducted an exercise at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans Nov. 4-6 to maintain deployment readiness.
If a deployment order is issued, the 159th is expected to be ready to deploy within 72 hours. These exercises enable the wing to ensure each Airman is prepared to deploy as quickly as possible.
The exercise began with a briefing where Airmen received information about the simulated deployment location. They then went through a predeployment functions line, verifying their information with finance, family readiness, personnel, chaplain, and legal sections.
Airmen checked their mobility bags and loaded them on pallets for transport by aircraft. That ended the predeployment portion of the exercise, and the 159th was set to deploy.
Once at the simulated location, the 122nd Fighter Squadron launched 13 Boeing F-15C Eagle fighter jets to begin joint missions with three other Air Force organizations over the Gulf of Mexico. They joined six Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, one Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Sumpter Smith Joint National Guard Base, and one Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft from the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB, to accomplish their missions.
“These [joint] exercises allow us to sharpen our skills employing our aircraft against near-peer threats as we will have both F-15s and F-35s on both sides of the fight [in allied and adversary roles],” said Capt. Thomas Fitzgerald, the chief of plans for the 159th.
The 159th will continue to conduct predeployment exercises to maintain readiness and support the mission.