WESTFIELD, Mass. - The 104th Fighter Wing conducted a four-day, base-wide readiness exercise Nov. 2-5 at Barnes Air National Guard Base.
“The REX provides the wing the chance to test interoperability with other local military partners, preparing Airmen for their worst day and preparedness for a high-end fight with near-peer adversary,” said Maj. James Ingari, 104th Inspector General’s office director of inspections.
The REX enables Airmen to set aside daily tasks and hone their skills to excel in a contested and degraded environment. Airmen worked 12-hour shifts to test their systems and processes. Over four days, the wing flew 41 sorties and responded to 17 scenarios.
Airmen from across the base spent time performing their jobs while wearing body armor, mission-oriented protective posture gear, and other job-specific gear. This included the crew chiefs and maintenance teams launching and catching F-15 Eagles and the pilots flying them.
Ingari said the Airmen succeeded at all the challenges.
Coordinating such a large-scale training exercise required support from every agency and team on base. The IG office and Wing Inspection Team members worked to make the event as realistic and challenging as possible for the Barnestormers.
“We demonstrated our ability throughout the exercise to adjust to operational realities and changing threat environments while executing distributed control,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Randall, 104FW deputy chief of staff. “Many of the processes we were executing were new to our wing and everyone was pulling in the same direction to ensure that we accomplished our mission.
“Even though the many injects and scenarios proved extremely challenging, they helped us improve our readiness to be more combat-capable and effective,“ Randall said.
This training is critical to ensuring that Airmen are ready to respond immediately to state or federal missions.
“While the A-Staff is a new concept to the Air Force and Air National Guard, we are extremely proud of the work we have done to integrate an operational A-Staff into day-to-day operations, create a deliberate crisis planning capability at the wing echelon, and redesign how we operate and implement C2 of assigned and attached forces,” said Randall. “This is not only a new way of doing business, but a new way of thinking and integrating C2 forces into the joint environment to deter and defeat near-peer adversaries across every domain.”