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HIANG to conduct first Sentry Aloha exercise of 2017

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) will be conducting its first large-scale "Sentry Aloha" fighter exercise of 2017 beginning Thursday, Jan. 19.   Oahu residents, particularly along Oahu's Southern Coast may see an increase in military aircraft as they approach Honolulu International Airport for landing.

Sentry Aloha is an ongoing series of fighter combat exercises, hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing and involves multiple types of aircraft and services.
Visiting aircraft will be taking part in simulated combat exercises in the airspaces in and around Hawaii with F-22 Raptors flown by the HIANG's 199th Fighter Squadron and active duty 19th Fighter Squadron.

"Sentry Aloha works to fill the critical requirement for the Hawaiian Raptors in regards to Dissimilar Air Combat Training," said U.S Air Force Maj. Kenneth Peterson, Sentry Aloha Officer in Charge. "In order to be current, pilots from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadron require a certain amount of adversary sorties per year.  Currently Sentry Aloha is the primary source for that training as the exercise brings in 4th generation F-15s, F-16s and F-18s."

According to Peterson Sentry Aloha provides customizable and realistic combat training for Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force and other Department of Defense services to provide U.S. warfighters with the skill sets necessary to perform their homeland defense and overseas combat missions.

"Sentry Aloha is unique in its efforts to provide a robust large force exercise tailorable to specific unit objects," Peterson said.

Visiting units will include tanker support from Utah and Tennessee, F-16 Falcons from Minnesota, and F-18 Hornets from California and for the first time an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) from Oklahoma will be folded into the scenarios.

"This is truly a great experience for us and some of the best training we will have an opportunity to participate in this year," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Cavazos, commander, 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron. "Sentry Aloha provides us with coveted large force exercise training with advanced fighter assets which is not as common and readily available in the CONUS."

Sentry Aloha exercises have been conducted by the HIANG, about four times per year, for several decades. This iteration will involve more than 1000 personnel and more than 50 aircraft from eight other states and territories.

"We are able to incorporate a wide variety of assets with each platform training to individual and synergistic desired learning objectives." said Peterson. "It is also an excellent opportunity for 4th and 5th generation fighters to execute fighter integration."

The exercise will run through the end of the month, with units returning to their home stations in early February.