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Air National Guard Conducts Sentry Savannah Exercise

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Caila Arahood and Senior Airman Victoria Coursey,
  • 165th Airlift Wing

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Approximately 775 participants and 40 aircraft from six flying units participated in the 10th year of exercise Sentry Savannah hosted by the Air Dominance Center May 6-18.

Sentry Savannah is the Air National Guard’s premier fighter integration exercise. It aims to enhance fighter readiness, interoperability and capability in a simulated combat environment.

“The airspace we have here on our coast provides a one-of-a-kind training area that allows pilots to utilize their full skill set,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Thomas, the Air Dominance Center commander. “Sentry Savannah supplies visiting units the ability to operate like they would in a remote, contested location.”

Sentry Savannah promotes a total force integrated environment that tests capabilities and readiness under the Agile Combat Employment concept while integrating with fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft.

During the two-week training exercise, total force Airmen employed ACE concepts to tactical air maneuvers by taking advantage of the 50,000 square mile airspace off the East Coast. This overwater airspace allowed pilots to train at full capacity in simulated dogfights with simulated adversarial aircraft.

Ground crew implemented ACE concepts by using the ADC as a forward operating location simulation to experience how to rapidly deploy for contingency operations requiring a lighter, leaner footprint.

“At Sentry Savannah, the multiple flying units are integral into scenario development here because they actually have a say in the overall tactics during each vulnerability period that we are flying in,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Peel, exercise director for Sentry Savannah 2024.

This year’s exercise included F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina ANG; F-35 Lightning II’s assigned to the 187th FW, Alabama ANG; F-15 Eagles assigned to the 125th FW Florida ANG; F-22 Raptors and T-38 Talons assigned to the 1st FW, Joint Base Langley-Eustis; KC-46 Pegasus assigned to the 157th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), New Hampshire ANG; and KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 185th ARW, Iowa ANG.

“These units get to tailor the scenarios to meet the tactical objectives they are trying to achieve, “Peel said. “In exercises like Red Flag or Northern Lightning, they are just a participant in a scenario that was created by somebody else, but at Sentry Savannah, they can fully achieve their tactical objectives because they help shape the scenario itself.”

While the ADC provides a unique battlespace experience for pilots year-round, this year’s Sentry Savannah exercise accomplished a historical joint military training with the Georgia National Guard during a mission at the nearby Townsend Bombing Range.

As dogfights took place over the ocean, U.S. Airmen assigned to the 103rd Air Control Squadron, Connecticut ANG, deployed and executed a cloud-based radar and radio connection of the Tactical Operations System-Lite, a first in new technological capabilities for the ANG.

There were 466 successful sorties and 4,761 ready aircrew program events in this year’s Sentry Savannah.

“Sentry Savannah allows fourth- and fifth-generation warfighters to train in tactics against near-peer adversaries at a level they can’t achieve anywhere else in the United States,” said Peel, “As the 10th year of this exercise, this training continues to be successful because new technology is incorporated and tailored to enhance the capabilities for each warfighter.”