MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. and C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. descended onto the home of the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing as a part of Exercise Agile Lion, Jan. 14-16, testing the Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy with a small footprint.
This three-day exercise tested elements of the 4th Fighter Wing’s ability to rapidly deploy and operate in low-light conditions, launching fighter aircraft in a simulated austere environment at night. Thirty Airmen from Seymour Johnson AFB flew into McEntire JNGB on a C-130J Hercules, quickly establishing perimeter security, offloading munitions and setting up a refueling point with the help of fuel trucks from the 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron. This is the first time McEntire JNGB has participated in this type of exercise, showcasing its diverse training value to the Air Force.
McEntire JNGB was just one location in the Southeast that participated in Exercise Agile Lion. The exercise focused on Air Force assets operating primarily from nearby Shaw AFB, with forward deployments to McEntire JNGB, Seymour Johnson AFB, and Kinston, N.C.
The Agile Combat Wing is a new warfighting concept that allows the U.S. Air Force to be more dynamic and lethal, enabling a rapid response to unpredictable threats around the globe.
During Exercise Agile Lion, Airmen who deployed to McEntire JNGB exercised the multifunctional Airman concept by performing integrated combat turns of hot-pit refueling and weapons loading in a simulated austere environment. This type of training allows flying units to minimize operational footprints and change where a potential adversary may think the Air Force is able to operate.
This is not the first time various military units or agencies have taken advantage of what McEntire JNGB has to offer to train. With its 2,400 acres and ability to support a variety of aircraft, the base is ideal for units completing special training requirements.
“McEntire [JNGB] offers a unique training environment for a variety of units,” said 2nd Lt. Trey Murphy, wing installation deployment officer, who served as a base liaison for the exercise. “We try our best to flex and meet other units’ training objectives.”
McEntire JNGB Airmen supported Exercise Agile Lion with aviation fuel, air traffic control, airfield operations and grounds maintenance.