By Tech. Sgt. Phuong Au, Louisiana Air National Guard Public Affairs Office
BELLE CHASSE, La. — The Louisiana National Guard’s (LANG) 159th Fighter Wing conducted a pre-deployment exercise to maintain deployment readiness at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans, Nov. 4-6.
If a real deployment order is issued, the 159th is expected to be ready to deploy within 72 hours. These types of
exercises give the Wing opportunities to identify shortfalls and improve their processes while ensuring each individual Airman is ready to go in one event so that when the time comes, they can deploy as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The exercise began with a briefing where Airmen received information about the simulated deployment location. Once briefed, they went through a pre-deployment functions (PDF) line, where they verified their information with finance, family readiness, personnel, chaplain, and legal sections was up to date.
From there, Airmen went on to double-check their mobility bags and loaded them on pallets for transport by aircraft.
After the bags were loaded, the pre-deployment portion of the exercise came to an end and the 159th was set to “deploy.”
Once at the simulated deployed location, the 122nd Fighter Squadron launched 13 Boeing F-15C Eagle fighter jets to
begin joint missions with three other Air Force organizations over the Gulf of Mexico. In total they joined six Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft from the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, one Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Sumpter Smith Joint National Guard Base and one Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft from the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB to accomplish their missions.
“These [joint] exercises allow us to sharpen our skills employing our aircraft against near peer threats as we will have both F-15s and F-35s on both sides of the fight [in allied and adversary roles],” said Capt. Thomas Fitzgerald, the chief of plans for the 159th.
The 159th will continue to conduct pre-deployment exercises to maintain mission readiness and continue to support the mission at a moment’s notice.