Kentucky Air Guard supports European allies with Silver Arrow

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chloe Ochs
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Fifty-three members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing supported their European allies Oct. 25 to Nov. 17 as part of the Silver Arrow program, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“Silver Arrow assigns real-world missions across Europe to Guard and Reserve units as part of the European Deterrence Initiative,” explained Lt. Col. Jennifer Nash, the wing’s detachment commander. “We go over and jump right in to real-world missions alongside our active-duty counterparts.”

The program, administered by U.S. Air Forces in Europe, provides funding and mission requirements to build readiness and validate C-130 elements throughout the Force Generation deployment cycle, she added.

“The overall goal of our participation in Silver Arrow consists of two parts,” Nash said. “One is to use our skillsets in real-world missions. So, it’s not training; it’s not an exercise. We’re there to do the real thing. And the second goal is to serve as ambassadors of the National Guard.”

While overseas, the Kentucky Air Guardsmen were tasked with a short-notice aeromedical evacuation after a U.S. Navy officer was injured while backpacking in the mountains of Romania. The team successfully recovered him the next day, in critical condition and suffering from both frostbite and hypothermia.

“That medevac mission was very short notice,” Nash said. “The crew and maintainers quickly made sure everything was ready, because we weren't scheduled to fly. But we got him off the mountain, and got him and back to the hospital.”

The KYANG team deployed two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft throughout Silver Arrow, executing 24 sorties that hauled more than 237 tons of cargo and 319 personnel across Europe. The team was comprised of members from the 123rd Operations Group, the 123rd Maintenance Group and the wing’s Inspector General office.

“We had a great experience at Silver Arrow,” said Lt. Col. Scott Benningfield, 123rd Airlift Wing inspector general. “It’s always good to be out on the road to assist in real-world events that not only provide relief to the active force, but also showcase what the 123rd Airlift Wing has to offer.”