EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The 18th Aggressor Squadron (AGRS) are leaving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii after participating in Sentry Aloha 20-1 Jan. 8-22, 2020.
Sentry Aloha is an ongoing series of exercises hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard (ANG) enabling tailored, cost effective and realistic combat training for ANG, U.S. Air Forces and other Department of Defense services. For this iteration, an estimated 1,000 personnel and 35 aircraft from 11 states participated in the exercise.
The 18th AGRS sent a mobile training team (MTT) to the island to train alongside Pacific partners. Their mission—know, teach and replicate enemy tactics, techniques and procedures in the air.
“The ‘know’ and ‘teach’ aspect is what makes the Aggressor mission unique because we become a subject-matter expert on certain adversaries. The ‘replicate’ part is where we actually fly like the bad guys for the units we are training,” said U.S Air Force Capt. James Heitmann, 18th AGRS pilot.
The MTT enables the Alaska-based unit to train fighter pilots in diverse environments, preparing them for 21st century combat.
During the training scenarios the 18th AGRS looked for mistakes made by Combat Air Force units, also known as ‘Blue Air,’ and exploited them as an adversary would in real-world combat.
“The Aggressors pride themselves on being able to capitalize on the smallest mistakes in our effort to train ‘Blue Air,’” said Capt. Travis Worden, 18th AGRS Sentry Aloha project officer.
Worden said the 18th AGRS don’t usually train with ANG fighter units so a lot of lessons were learned during the exercise, and it was encouraging for him to see the high level at which the units performed throughout the exercise.
“The hard work and long hours of all players across the board was evident and humbling,” Worden said. “With the outstanding work of our (squadron aviation resource management), (aircrew flight equipment), intel, maintenance, crew chiefs, pilots, barons and my planning team, this exercise would have never gotten off the ground.”
The 18th AGRS MTT is scheduled to participate in another exercise in the Pacific theater, exercise Cope North at Anderson AFB, Guam.