Total Force engages in Alaska Turkey Shoot
By Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso, 477th Fighter Group Public Affairs
/ Published July 30, 2012
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Pilots and maintainers assigned to the 477th Fighter Group competed alongside their active duty and Air National Guard counterparts in the 3rd Wing's Turkey Shoot competition here July 17-19.
A Turkey Shoot is an Air Force tradition that goes back to the early days of tactical aviation.
"Throughout the three-day competition, operators and maintenance personnel were graded on their ability to produce aircraft and accomplish a tactical mission that represents something the 3rd Wing assets would do in actual combat," said Maj. Christopher Miller, a member of the 302nd Fighter Squadron and Turkey Shoot coordinator.
There was a vast array of squadrons from active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve participating in the training exercise, including the 302nd, 159th, 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons, the 3rd Operations Support Squadron, the 517th and 176th Airlift Squadrons, the 477th, 703rd, 176th and 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons as well as the 18th Aggressor Squadron.
The competition started as aircraft maintenance units produced fully mission capable aircraft. Weapons load crews were evaluated on their ability to load as quickly and safely as possible, with no technical order violations. While those maintenance personnel were generating combat ready aircraft, the C-17, F-15C and F-22 pilots along with their intel personnel were mission planning and briefing in preparation for the training scenario.
Once the jets were determined to be "combat" ready, four Reserve F-22 pilots from the 302nd FS and four Air Guard F-15C pilots from 159th FS from Jacksonville, Fla., took off from JBER and escorted a C-17 from the 517th Airlift Squadron to a drop zone located within the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex to deliver the simulated load.
Throughout the mission, the pilots faced simulated surface to air missiles and engaged with F-16s from the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, located 250 miles north of JBER.
This was the first time that a four-ship of Reserve pilots from the 302nd FS competed in the 3rd Wing's Turkey Shoot. According to Miller, the Reserve and Air Guard's participation in this training is an example of JBER's commitment to Total Force Integration.
"The Turkey Shoot fosters a competitive spirit and improves camaraderie between participating units," said Maj. Miller. "It gives an increased knowledge about 3rd Wing assets and a fighting "team" spirit with all operations and maintenance participants."