Story by SMSgt Chris Drudge on 04/19/2017Sentry Aloha is a National Guard Bureau sponsored exercise that provides an opportunity for fighter integration training between the F-15C Eagle and the F-22 Raptor. F-16 Fighting Falcons were also included to provide dissimilar aircraft combat training.
Fighter integration is where an F-15, a 4th generation fighter, and an F-22, a 5th generation fighter, team up and execute their air superiority mission. The Sentry Aloha exercise facilitates this fighter integration training.
"The F-15 Eagles and the F-22 Raptors will always go to war together," said Capt. Trevor Haagenson, 144th FW pilot and Project Officer for Sentry Aloha. "The opportunity to train directly with the Raptors is extremely important for us to maintain wartime readiness."
The benefits of training alongside the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing F-22 Raptors had some additional benefits for the pilots of the 144th FW. The larger airspace allowed pilots to practice advanced tactics. They also were able to work with air battle manager controllers and had to share airspace with multiple airframes. These combined variables helped to sharpen the skills of every pilot involved.
"This is some of the best training we will do all year long," said Haagenson." Fighter integration is our number one mission in the air dominance community and the realism of this Sentry Aloha exercise helped us fine tune our abilities as pilots."
The training was held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii and was hosted by the 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard. In total there were nine squadrons with 775 Airmen and five major weapons systems totaling 33 aircraft participating in the final Sentry Aloha exercise of the year from March 22 to April 9.
The squadrons engaged in the exercise included Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd FW, flying F-16 Fighting Falcons; Utah ANG's 151st and Mississippi ANG's 186th Air Refueling Wings, both flying the KC-135 Stratotankers; and Hawaii ANG's 199th and 19th FWs, flying the F-22 Raptors; along with the 144th's F-15 Eagles.
Helping everyone get to JBPHH were the C-17 Globemaster IIIs and their amazing crews. The New York ANG's 105th Airlift Wing, Tennessee ANG's 164th Airlift Wing and Mississippi ANG's 172d Airlift Wing moved hundreds of Airmen and their support equipment thousands of miles, enabling everyone to come together for the third Sentry Aloha exercise of the year.
To ensure that the Eagle drivers had the fighters to fly, the maintainers stepped up and ensured that the maintenance-intense aircraft were ready to go for each mission. Out of the 106 sorties scheduled, the 144th Airmen successfully launched 103 aircraft only missing three sorties for an effective rate of 97.2%.
"The maintenance on this deployment was fantastic," said Lt. Col. Scott Anderson, 194th pilot and Sentry Aloha Detachment commander. "The men and women of the 144th came through day in and day out, providing us with quality jets non-stop."
After a three-month deployment to Eastern Europe last year, the 144th Maintenance Group has become extremely proficient at packing the tools and equipment they'd need for most any issue that could rear its ugly head.
"Working with the Logistics Readiness Squadron, we've been able to build our parts kit up to meet all of our needs," said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Rogers, Sentry Aloha non-commissioned officer in charge.
According to Rogers, the operations tempo has been high, but manageable. With the help of LRS supplying the needed aircraft parts, the maintenance personnel repaired most minor write-ups before the following mission launched.
"This is what we do- provide high quality jets for our air dominance mission," Rogers added. "If we go to war tomorrow, we'll be ready."