JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing hosted a large force exercise with an F-16 unit from Fort Worth May 21.
The exercise incorporated modernized tactics of fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft in advanced aerial combat and provided a platform for enhanced cooperation between the two fighter units.
The fleet of fighter jets training with the 182nd Fighter Squadron, a sub-unit of the 149th FW, is from the 457th Fighter Squadron, attached to Fort Worth’s Air Force Reserve 301st FW.
“It’s nearly impossible to replicate the numbers of threats you’ll see in a major combat operation with a single squadron flying,” said Maj. Michael Malone, 182nd F-16 instructor pilot. “By bringing in another squadron, we are able to provide a more realistic scenario for air combat.”
Each squadron was assigned a 30-minute window to “defend the Alamo” during the exercise, adding a contest-like flair, where each four-ship team defended the Alamo from adversarial action.
“An annual contest of combat prowess will make everyone participating better,” Malone said. “As the only fighter unit in the Texas Guard, we strive to be the best fighter pilots in the world. To be the best, it’s important to train against the best, and it should be a lot of fun.”
The exercise also provided an opportunity to break in the 149th FW’s newly revamped live mission operation center as a “war room” of sorts, where aircraft monitoring systems and digital radios were positioned to track each team’s tactics and maneuvers.