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Kentucky Air Guard deploys more than 100 for Red Flag-Alaska exercise

Master Sgt. Lonie Gipson (left), 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expediter, and Staff Sgt. Eric Brown, crew chief for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inspect a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules prior to flight operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on May 8, 2014. More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing are currently deployed to participate in Red Flag-Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Master Sgt. Lonie Gipson (left), 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expediter, and Staff Sgt. Eric Brown, crew chief for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inspect a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules prior to flight operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on May 8, 2014. More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing are currently deployed to participate in Red Flag-Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Master Sgt. Lonie Gipson, an expediter for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, installs an auxiliary power unit cover on a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules prior to flight operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on May 8, 2014. More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing are currently deployed to participate in Red Flag-Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Master Sgt. Lonie Gipson, an expediter for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, installs an auxiliary power unit cover on a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules prior to flight operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, on May 8, 2014. More than 100 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing are currently deployed to participate in Red Flag-Alaska. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --  More than 100 Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing and three Kentucky Air National Guard C-130s arrived here May 7 to participate in Red Flag-Alaska, a Pacific Command exercise designed to train aircrew using realistic combat scenarios.
 
The Kentucky troops, including aircrew members, maintenance personnel and support staff, will fly tactical airlift sorties through May 23 as part of the exercise, according to Col. Robert Hamm, commander of the Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Operations Group.

"Our aircrews will coordinate with F-15 escorts to perform simulated airdrops, resupply sorties, and the deployment of Army personnel by parachute into an area for a simulated airfield seizure," Hamm said.

"Support Airmen from the 123rd also will provide fuels, supply and maintenance for the aircraft, as well as security, food services, aerial port and personnel accountability support for all deployed forces," according to Lt. Col. Matthew Stone, commander of the Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Mission Support Group.

The Kentucky team will join with more than 15 other active-duty and reserve-component servicemembers, as well as units from the Royal Singapore Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force. Multiple scenarios will task fighter, tanker, command-and-control and airlift aircraft.

Hamm said the exercise will provide excellent training opportunities for the 123rd Airlift Wing.

"We can't replicate the stress, the pace and the tempo of these day-to-day missions back home, but we can in this environment," said Hamm, who calls the high operation tempo a "stress inoculation."

"The goal of this deployment is to enhance aircrew training using wartime scenarios, so our crews are better prepared when they participate in real combat," he said.

The deployment marks the first time since 2006 that the 123rd has participated in Red Flag-Alaska.