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Training exercise at Hill AFB tests wings’ combat readiness

Senior Airman Ashley Epperson (left), 75th Communications and Information Directorate, and Senior Airman Colten Jones Riquelme, 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, don protective gear

Senior Airman Ashley Epperson (left), 75th Communications and Information Directorate, and Senior Airman Colten Jones Riquelme, 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, don protective gear during a readiness training exercise Sept. 16, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise, Airmen demonstrated their ability to prepare, respond and recover from combat situations in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

An Airman monitors an F-35A Lightning II during a hot pit refuel

An Airman monitors an F-35A Lightning II during a hot pit refuel Sept. 14, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Airmen from the active duty 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing participated in a two-week exercise to simulate a deployed environment. Exercises such as night flying operations are crucial to prepare the Airmen for real-world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony Pham)

Staff Sgt. Justin Crosby, a reservist in the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepares an F-35A Lightning II to receive munitions

Staff Sgt. Justin Crosby, a reservist in the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepares an F-35A Lightning II to receive munitions Sept. 14, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The team moved quickly and methodically to load an inert bomb onto the jet before it conducted a simulated targeting mission. Reservists participated in a two-week exercise to simulate a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony Pham)

Capt. Dylan Meador, F-35 pilot in the 388th Fighter Wing, performs post-flight checks after leading two consecutive offensive counter-air sorties during an exercise

Capt. Dylan Meador, F-35 pilot in the 388th Fighter Wing, performs post-flight checks after leading two consecutive offensive counter-air sorties during an exercise Sept. 14, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Pilots the 388th FW and 419th FW participated in a two-week exercise that included night flying, surge operations, and roughly 80 sorties per day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony Pham)

(Left to right) Chaplain (Capt.) Jeffrey Larsen, 75th Air Base Wing chapel, Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilar, 75th Air Base Wing safety office, and Senior Airman Ashley Epperson, 75th Communications and Information Directorate, practice emergency first-aid on a mannequin during a readiness training exercise.

(Left to right) Chaplain (Capt.) Jeffrey Larsen, 75th Air Base Wing chapel, Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilar, 75th Air Base Wing safety office, and Senior Airman Ashley Epperson, 75th Communications and Information Directorate, practice emergency first-aid during a readiness training exercise Sept. 16, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise, Airmen demonstrated their ability to prepare, respond and recover from combat situations in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class Alexander Armitage, avionics technician in the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, dons mission oriented protective posture gear during an exercise

Airman 1st Class Alexander Armitage, avionics technician in the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, dons mission oriented protective posture gear during an exercise Sept. 16, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The gear protects Airmen from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents that could be used in a contested environment. Reservists in the 419th Fighter Wing participated in a two-week exercise where they practiced donning MOPP gear to prepare them for real-world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony Pham)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Vassallo, 75th Air Base Wing Communications and Information Directorate, simulates removing contamination from a weapon.

Airman 1st Class Jordan Vassallo, 75th Air Base Wing Communications and Information Directorate, simulates removing contamination from a weapon during a readiness training exercise Sept. 16, 2020, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise, Airmen demonstrated their ability to prepare, respond and recover from combat situations in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Airmen from the 75th Air Base Wing, 388th Fighter Wing and Reserve 419th Fighter Wing participated in a joint training exercise last week aimed at testing their combat capability.

The three wings demonstrated their ability to prepare, respond and recover from combat situations in a deployed environment, with pilots and maintainers from the fighter wings flying and generating roughly 80 sorties per day, some into the nighttime hours.

Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th ABW commander, applauded the team effort, including the force support, logistic readiness, and medical teams for the support they provide to the base’s warfighters making sure they’re equipped and ready to deploy.

“This air base wing is the underpinning of everything that’s required for our base’s Airmen to forward deploy when called upon to meet the needs of our combatant commanders,” Carroll said.

Personnel from the 419th FW participated in the exercise as part of their yearly annual tour requirement. Most of the wing’s reservists have full-time jobs in the local community and serve their nation part time, training one weekend per month and two weeks per year.

“Conducting an exercise during a pandemic is a very good way to assess the wing’s capabilities in a contested environment,” said Col. Matthew Fritz, 419th FW commander.

The exercise tests the reservists’ readiness and abilities when faced with tasks more frequently than in a normal drill weekend.

“Team Hill is working together to practice as we would play in a deployed environment,” said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th FW commander. “We are a whole team – active duty and reservists – and the work is done seamlessly.”

The base concluded a training exercise last month as well, successfully showcasing its ability to deploy at a moment’s notice. The Air Force routinely holds such exercises, which tests a unit’s overall readiness including its ability to get Airmen and cargo out the door to a deployed location.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is making sure that we work together collaboratively,” Carroll said. “Although you have three different leaders, when it comes to making decisions, we make those decisions together, because it’s all about the overall wellness of the installation and our Airmen.”

The installation currently has Airmen deployed to a number of locations around the world.

(The 75th Air Base Wing and 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs offices contributed to this story.)