The 18th Aggressor Squadron departed Eielson this week to participate in exercise Sentry Aloha 20-1, which is scheduled to take place Jan. 8-22 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawai, hosted by Hawaii Air National Guard. For more than 20 years, Sentry Aloha exercises have provided tailored, cost-effective and realistic combat training for the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and other military personnel.

It provides U.S. warfighters with the skill sets necessary to perform homeland defense and overseas combat missions. “Our very own 18th Aggressor Squadron has departed for this year’s mobile training across the Pacific,” said Col. Ben Bishop, 354th Fighter Wing commander. “These professionals will carry out our mission in the Pacific theater and prepare our total force partners for 21st century combat.”

Sentry Aloha is the first stop of the year for the 18th AGRS Mobile Training Team. Their mission in the exercise is to replicate adversary tactics, techniques and procedures by creating a realistic combat scenario. To support the exercise, 354th Maintenance Group professionals orchestrated a successful launch of F-16 Fighting Falcons in freezing temperatures, which reached negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit on the flight line.

“The big muscle movement we accomplished leading up to the exercise was increasing our mission capable rate by 30 percent to reach 95 percent. This led directly to the successful launch for Sentry Aloha this week,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jay Stokes, 354th MXG superintendent. “Our maintainers will help produce the same mission in Hawaii as they do here in Alaska, which is to support the 18th Aggressor Squadron fleet as they replicate the threat in training.”

Other participating units include KC-135 Stratotankers from the Wisconsin Air National Guard, F-15 Eagles from the California Air National Guard and radar aircraft from Oklahoma. The visiting aircraft will take part in simulated combat exercises with the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadron’s F-22 Raptors. Following Sentry Aloha, the 18th AGRS will fly to Anderson AFB, Guam, to train with other U.S. and international partners in exercise Cope North.

Photo credits: USAF by Master Sgt. Charles Vaughn, Senior Airman Jerilyn Quintanilla, Senior Airman Beaux Hebert

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