148th Fighter Wing Hosts Combat Training

Air National Guard F-16's and Navy EA-18G Growlers were in action at the 148th Fighter Wing Minnesota National Guard. 

DULUTH, Minn. – Today the 148th Fighter Wing joined forces with the Navy among other branches to train in maneuvers called Northern Lightning.

Air National Guard F-16’s and Navy EA-18G Growlers were in action at the 148th Fighter Wing Minnesota National Guard.

Northern Lightning is an annual exercise which involves many different capabilities of several different factions around the military on the ground and in the air.

“We are simulating a conflict where we are going in and striking another enemy and we’ve got enemy forces that are opposing our attacks and we’ve got our own forces that are trying to combine our own attacks to have the desired outcome,” said Lt. Col. Paul Thornton of the 179th Fighter Squadron.

The pilots stressed it’s important to train together because their terminology and tactics might be referred to differently across branches.

“We were able to come up here and integrate with those guys and gals and be able to figure out some of our tactics together so that if anything happens and we have to do this in the real world together we are equipped to do that.

For one Growler pilot, flying has bee a lifetime dream.

“I’ve loved flying since I was a little kid. The ability to fly grey jets for the United States Navy¬† is pretty amazing just the thrill. Getting to do the mission we do is pretty exciting,” said LCDR Daniel Sherman.

The planes are mostly working on defensive counter-air suppression of enemy air defenses and it’s important to stay sharp since the threat is always imminent.

“You never get bored. You never get comfortable because things and tactics are always changing the scenarios are always changing the threat is always changing. You never know what you have to be ready for, so you kind of have to be ready for anything,” said Lt. Col. Thornton.

The training takes place over 300 miles east to west and 100 miles north and south over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.


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