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Coronet Warrior exercise tests aircrew, combat support deployed operations

  • Published
  • By Airman Shawna L. Keyes
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 4th Fighter Wing conducted a base-wide employment exercise Jan. 30 through 31 at Seymour Johnson AFB.

More than 1,000 Airmen participated in Exercise Coronet Warrior 17-01, which was designed to simulate deployed operations and test both the aircrew flying and Airmen on the ground.

As part of the exercise, Airmen were evaluated on their ability to conduct operations while fending off simulated ground and air attacks with a potential threat of chemical or biological agents.

“The exercise is designed to test the wing’s ability to operate in an overseas hostile location,” said Col. Christopher Sage, 4th FW commander. “More specifically, it is designed around places that we would most likely deploy.”

According to Lt. Col. Panos Bakogiannis, 4th FW Inspector General of Inspections chief of exercise and evaluations, the wing inspection team diligently researched each squadron’s role in a deployed location in order to develop scenarios that accurately reflected real-world responses and procedures for exercise participants.

Airmen from the 4th Security Forces Squadron conducted apprehension scenarios, secured the airfield and entry control point operations, and conducted perimeter patrols that are day-to-day routine in a deployed location.

Members from the 4th Medical Group performed triage on Airmen with various simulated wounds while Airmen from the 4th Force Support Squadron conducted mortuary affairs operations as dictated by the exercise scenario.

On the flightline, Airmen conducted 24-hour operations while donning various levels of mission orientated protective posture gear in response to different simulated alarms, threats and chemical or biological agents. In addition, Airmen from the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons unit conducted 40 continuous hours of full aircraft munitions loads to simulate combat aircraft configurations.

“At home station, we don’t ever do a max load-up,” said Chief Master Sgt. Mark Sulzer, 4th MXG wing weapons manager. “For this exercise, the weapons Airmen conducted max loads, same as we do downrange, to give them that combat experience to increase those expeditionary skills needed.”

The skills practiced and refined during expeditionary exercises at home station have a direct effect when Airmen of the 4th Fighter Wing deploy in support of contingency operations.

Recently deployed Airmen from the 335th Fighter Squadron and 4th Maintenance Group conducted operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Aircrew flew more than 1,200 sorties and dropped more than 2,000 bombs on various Islamic State of Iraq and Levant targets, while ground crew ran 24/7 operations in conjunction with the 24-hour flying operations. 

Airmen from the 4th MXG successfully launched 138 aircraft during the two-day exercise and more than 150 scenarios were conducted.

“Overall the exercise went well and met our objectives,” Sage said. “We identified areas where the wing excelled and areas that could use some improvement. All this information is collected and implemented to further our readiness for future real-world operations."