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Fort Wayne's 122nd Fighter Wing trains for possible combat mission

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 9:23 am

Fort Wayne's 122nd Fighter Wing recently participated in a combat training operation in Louisiana.

The 122nd Fighter Wing announced Tuesday it deployed 140 airmen and 12 A-10C “Warthogs” to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. They were part of Green Flag East, a three-week-long exercise to prepare nearly 4,000 soldiers for potential combat deployment.

The 122nd Fighter Wing used the exercise to prepare for potential overseas deployment and trained in aircraft maintenance, execution of the mission and transportation of equipment, airmen and supplies.

“One highlight of the exercise was the successful accomplishment of a combat search-and-rescue operation,” Lt. Col. Bill Leahy, 163rd fighter squadron commander, said in a news release. “This was a great opportunity for our A-10 attack pilots to practice their response following an enemy shoot-down of a friendly aircraft.”

Leahy said the scenario involved the simulated shoot-down of an F-15 pilot, who was in a forested area of Louisiana. A-10 pilots were able to locate the pilot, deal with enemy threats and recover the pilot before opposition forces closed in.

Most of the 122nd Fighter Wing's missions consisted of close air support, many of them involving the employment of live munitions, while others were dedicated to support in an urban environment.

One unique training opportunity occurred at the Toledo Bend Reservoir, where A-10 pilots had to locate, identify and simulate the engagement of small, fast boats, according to the release. The exercise exposed pilots to a potential threat posed by various terrorist organizations and pirates.

“I could not be more proud of the performance by our airmen at Green Flag East,” said Col. David L. Augustine, the 122nd Fighter Wing commander. “I am highly confident in our ability to meet any combat tasking that we may be called upon to execute.”