HONOLULU, Hawaii – Five F-15 Eagles and more than ninety Airmen from Kingsley Field flew to Hawaii for three weeks to support Sentry Aloha 19-2, a large-scale exercise with both American and Australian Forces, August 16 through September 6.
Lt. Col Victor Knill, 173rd Fighter Wing Sentry Aloha project officer, said, “the purpose of this exercise is to get the Hawaiian F-22s as much training as they can get since they’re out here, isolated. They don’t get a lot of opportunities to get a lot of big, large force exercise training.”
Knill emphasized that Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) occupies a strategic position in the highly contested Pacific Command Area of Responsibility and maintaining unit effectiveness is vital to U.S. interest.
Exercises such as Sentry Aloha 19-2 allow JBPHH pilots to train against a diverse set of opponents that can imitate what may be encountered in combat.
Kingsley Eagles flew with Hawaiian F-22 Raptors simulating both friendly “Blue Forces” and as adversaries. F-16 Fighting Falcons from Tulsa Air National Guard Base and an Australian E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C also participated.
Captain Paul Spotten, 173rd FW Sentry Aloha maintenance officer in charge, said that the benefits of this exercise extend beyond just the local Hawaiian Raptor pilots. “The way these large force exercises work, it is good training for everyone involved. Everyone is learning a lot from being able to participate in an exercise like this.”
More than ninety Airmen followed Kingsley’s five jets to ensure the mission went smoothly, said Spotten. “We’ve got folks from maintenance squadron, aircraft maintenance squadron, maintenance operations flight, operations support, the fighter squadron, logistics readiness, comm flight. We did bring an excellent, diverse team.”
Knill also praised the hard work of every Kingsley Airman who supported the mission. “They showed dedication and resilience throughout the entire exercise, sometimes working ten plus hour shifts to make the flying happen.”
During the nine mission days, Kingsley Eagles flew 65 sorties, adding up to more than 110 hours in the air.