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NEWS | March 15, 2024

173rd Fighter Wing Joins Sentry Luau Exercise in Hawaii

By Staff Sgt. Emily Copeland, 173rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - About 90 Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon, took to the skies at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for exercise Sentry Luau.

Team Kingsley Airmen worked directly with the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing and the 19th Fighter Squadron to play “Red Air” and “Blue Air” with their F-22 Raptors. This friendly and adversarial play allows the jets to hone their skills while flying with other airframes not stationed alongside the Hawaiian Raptors.

While similar to the more well-known exercise, Sentry Aloha, Sentry Luau was created to test the capabilities of the F-22 Raptors against the grandfather of fighter jets, the F-15, in the Pacific Air Force domain.

“The integration of fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft is key to expanding the Air Force’s capabilities in real-world situations and to be prepared to fight against any given aircraft,” said Maj. Jacoby McCoy, 173rd FW Sentry Luau project officer. “The F-15s were able to provide robust red air threat replication that they are unable to produce organically from within their squadron.”

He said the F-15s delivered invaluable basic fighter maneuver training replicating threats at a long distance out of direct visual range.

During Sentry Luau, the F-15s completed more than 100 flying hours and 68 sorties without any major maintenance issues.

“The professionalism and capabilities of the Airmen working in maintenance led to a 100% flight generation success rate during the exercise,” said 1st Lt. Bryce Balin, 173rd FW maintenance officer in charge. “To those who don’t know, this is a very impressive feat when working with older aircraft, and in addition to the line success, the maintainers were able to help exceed the amount of scheduled familiarization flights that occurred in Hawaii.”

Alongside the training flights, approximately 20 Airmen also had the opportunity to participate in familiarization flights in the backseat of the F-15 Eagles. This experience allowed Airmen who performed excellent work throughout the year to experience the culmination of their efforts in the flight of a lifetime over the turquoise waters of the Hawaiian Islands.

“I am particularly proud of all of the Airmen who stepped in to not only complete their own jobs but also to fill in and work together for other career fields that needed assistance,” said Balin. “This may be one of the few exercises the Kingsley F-15s have left to participate in, and this trip has been a true testament to our wing’s capabilities that, no matter what aircraft we fly, we are getting the job done.”




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