148th Fighter Wing Participates in Sentry Savannah 15-1
By Master Sgt. Ralph Kapustka, 148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 11, 2015
DULUTH, Minn. -- 148th Fighter Wing personnel and jets participated in Exercise Sentry Savannah 15-1, Feb 9-20, 2015. The exercise was held at the Air Dominance Center (ADC), Savannah, Ga.
Sentry Savannah 15-1 gave 148FW pilots an opportunity to integrate with other platforms from around the military to include F-22's, F-35's, F-16's, F-18's, B-2's and T-38's. Besides the Dissimilar Aircraft Training 148FW pilots received by working with a variety of aircraft, they were also able to train against real surface to air threats and continue to train in their primary Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) mission.
"One of the biggest things we learned is how to integrate with fifth generation jets such as the F-22 and F-35," said Lt. Col. Curt Grayson, 148FW Deployed Commander.
"Our whole goal prior to going into this exercise was to get our people ready for our next real-world tasking," said Chief Master Sgt. Paul Poppenberg, 148FW Deployed Maintenance Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC). "Pilot mission requirements would often change after meetings causing maintenance personnel to adjust aircraft configurations. This scenario provided a more realistic "wartime" feel as targets often change and you need to be able to adjust to it. The changing schedule and training requirements caused everyone to be a lot more flexible," said Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Wuestneck, who also deployed as a maintenance NCOIC. "We lost some of our maintenance experts over the last few years to retirement, said Poppenberg. This was a great way to identify shortfalls due to that loss. This exercise allowed us to identify those improvements without the cost being too high.
"We exercised the whole machine, said Poppenberg. We showed that we could do it with people in new positions."
Services personnel from the 148FW Force Support Squadron also played a key role. Their main role was to run a Charge of Quarters (CQ) where they handled room maintenance issues along with other billeting concerns. But, they also coordinated trips and tours so personnel had an opportunity to enjoy the Savannah, Ga. area, picked up and delivered around 850 box lunches to Airmen who could not break away from their work responsibilities and served as the post office for deployed personnel. "We were a one stop shop for anyone that had a question, concern or a need," said Master Sgt., Melanie Kuklis, 148FW Deployed CQ Staff.
"The training objectives were met, said Grayson. I was impressed with everyone involved from the first planning conference to the last C-130 landing back at the 148FW. I know a ton of work goes into deployments like this and I appreciate everyone stepping up."
The 148FW had over 110 training flights and over 200 hours of flight time during the two weeks they spent participating in Sentry Savannah 15-1. Approximately 180 148FW Airmen deployed in support of the exercise.