Sentry Savannah - Because losing is not an option

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Amber Williams
  • 165th PA

Imagine the world's best fighter jets and fighter pilots duking it out, roaring over the Atlantic Ocean
just off of Georgia's coast. Teams of Red Air and Blue Air fight to the death to meet a specific objective and
accomplish the mission.

That is exactly the training the Air Dominance Center at the 165th Airlift Wing, in Savannah, Georgia aims to
provide for their customers. The customers are military units from all branches, across the U.S. and around the
world. They come to Savannah to hone their skills to be the very best.

Participating in the exercise, were F-22 Raptors and T-38 Talons from Tyndall Air Force Base, F-16 Fighting
Falcons from Sioux Falls, S.D., F-15 Eagles from Jacksonville, Fl. and KC-135 Stratotankers from Wichita, Kan.
and Phoenix, Ariz.

"We are doing some dissimilar basic fighting maneuvers because it is not
often that we are at the same base with another fighter," said Maj. Matthew
Evers, an F-22 pilot from Tyndall Air Force Base and project officer for Sentry Savannah.

"We wanted to practice our basic mission which is offensive counter air, defensive counter air, and some
air to ground training," said Evers. "We wanted to get a variety of those kinds of missions."

In comparison with the latest fourth generation and fifth generation fighter jets, it may seem strange that
T-38 Talons are also participating in Sentry Savannah because it is generally a trainer aircraft that lacks a

"We can mimic any aircraft," said Maj. Dan Stoker a T-38 pilot from Tyndall Air Force Base.
"Our main set back is that we don't have a radar which makes the T-38 uniquely qualified to fight the F-22's because no
one can see it anyway."

Although involvement from the T-38 Talons requires more coordination, that is no problem with the help
of local air traffic controllers. "Radar controllers from the 117th Air Control Squadron and 143rd Air Control
Squadron will direct us and we have our own game plan that is heavily set on timing," said Stoker.

"The ADC advertises Sentry Savannah as lite Red Flag. Red Flag is a robust exercise that has every aspect
of war fighting such as logistics and intelligence. So there are a lot of hoops to jump through before we
get into the fight. When we come here it is still a large force exercise but with a focus specific for fighters," said

The ADC has been hosting Sentry Savannah since 2014 but has been hosting similar exercises since the
1980's. Overall, the ADC typically hosts approximately 300 aircraft and 7,000-10,000 personnel annually
from all branches, making Savannah a prominent yet inexpensive means to maintain familiarity with
dissimilar aircraft for fighter units and ultimately help the U.S. Air Force maintain air superiority.