An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Aug. 10, 2020

Annual Northern Lightning exercise returns to Volk Field

By Capt. Joe Trovato Wisconsin National Guard

CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. — Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center is hosting approximately 50 aircraft and nearly 1,000 members of the National Guard, Air Force, Army, and Navy as part of the annual Northern Lightning Counterland training exercise.

Units from California, Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin will all participate in the exercise Aug. 10-21.

Northern Lightning began in the early 2000s before expanding into a large-scale exercise in 2015. It became a biannual exercise in 2018 and 2019 and returned to an annual exercise in 2020.

Northern Lightning is a tactical level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battlespace with current and future weapons platforms. A variety of the world’s most advanced aircraft including fifth-generation aircraft like the F-35 will participate.

Volk Field CRTC is one of the premier training installations and airspaces in the country, thanks to its expansive airspace and the quality of the training the installation can simulate.

Northern Lightning is one of seven Air National Guard joint accredited exercises held at a Combat Readiness Training Center. The installation’s reputation as one of the country’s finest training areas continues to grow. Northern Lightning has grown into a world-class exercise.

“We are excited to continue conducting our annual Northern Lightning exercise at Volk Field,” said Col. Bart Van Roo, the exercise director. “This exercise will focus on offensive counter-air with simulated surface-to-air attacks and the integration of multiple air platforms. Training in this manner is essential for readiness and enhancing partnerships.”

Van Roo said the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated some changes to the exercise’s structure, but the training will be invaluable.

“We’ve had to make some adjustments due to COVID,” he said. “Though we still have more than 50 aircraft and approximately 1,000 personnel participating, far fewer will be staging out of Volk Field in order to mitigate public health risks. Even amid a pandemic, the Air National Guard and our active-duty partners stand ready to complete whatever mission our country asks of us.”

Pilots and aircrews participating in Northern Lightning can expect to operate in a contested environment with adversary aircraft, electronic jamming and simulated surface-to-air threats. Such training is critical to building readiness for the threats and missions the nation faces.

The general public can expect to see an increase in aircraft activity in and around the Camp Douglas area and in the skies over Central Wisconsin during the exercise.

“This exercise will include potential supersonic travel, within FAA and military guidelines, so people in the military operating area, a 55-by-200- mile space, may hear sonic booms between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during weekdays,” Van Roo said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as it is a necessary part of preparation for actual combat.”



Related Articles
Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment, approach the High Risk Entry Facility Jan. 17 at Volk Field, Wis., during urban warfare training.
Wisconsin Guard Fights Elements in Urban Operations Training
By Staff Sgt. Kati Volkman, | Jan. 26, 2024
VOLK FIELD, Wis. — For 24 frigid hours Jan. 17-18, Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, used the High Risk Entry Facility and...

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Stephen Boehme, assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard 180th Fighter Wing, directs an F-16 Fighting Falcon to Volk Field on Camp Douglas, Wis., during Exercise Northern Lightning, Aug. 7, 2023.
Ohio Air Guard Fighter Wing Trains at Volk Field
By Airman 1st Class Sarah Stalder Lundgren, | Aug. 8, 2023
CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. - More than 90 Airmen and six F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing deployed to Volk Field Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin, in early August to participate in...

Master Sgt. Kyle Coffman of the 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, loads equipment into the cargo bay of a C-17 Globemaster III, preparing to leave for a flyaway readiness exercise with the 168th Wing at Volk Field, Wisconsin, April 1, 2023. The multiday exercise focused on the Air Force’s priority of Agile Combat Employment.
Alaska Air Guard Demonstrates ACE Readiness
By Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey, | April 17, 2023
VOLK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Wis. – Multiple teams from the Alaska National Guard’s 168th Wing demonstrated the Air Force’s priority of Agile Combat Employment during a flyaway readiness exercise April 1-7.The ACE...