Nebraska Air Guardsmen support Australia training
By By Airman 1st Class Jaime Titus, 155th Air Refueling Wing
/ Published March 31, 2017
Fourteen Airmen from the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing joined approximately 230 Airmen from the active duty Air Force and reserve component of the Air Force for a Feb. 9-28 joint exercise with the Australian Air Force at Darwin Royal Air Force Base in Darwin, Australia.
Two KC-135R Stratotankers, one from the 155th ARW and another from the 434th Air Refueling Wing from Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, helped eight F-22A Raptors from the 525th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska get to Australia by serving as their flying gas station.
While in Australia, the Airmen from the 155th ARW supported and took part in air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements with the Australians. They also shuttled the F-22s from Tindal RAAF Base to an air show in Melbourne, Australia.
Exercises like this show what the Nebraska Air National Guard can do, said Col. Don M. Neff, 155th Operations Group commander.
“The display of eight F-22s and two KC-135s from the total force effort in the Air Force forward deploying to Australia (and) working together with the Aussies, that does two things,” said Neff. “First, it builds that relationship with Australian Air Force and shows that we can work together with another Air Force, one of our really close allies. (It) also shows the other players in that part of the world that we’re committed to that (area of responsibility).”
Neff added that deployments such as the Australian effort help demonstrate interoperability between all functions of the Air Force, such as U.S. Pacific Air Force, U.S. Northern Command, Grissom Air Reserve Base and the 155th ARW.
“It reassures our allies that we’re committed to the area and that we will bring our latest and greatest technologies and that we’ll share and that we’re there to help them if the need arises,” said Neff.
“We can go anywhere in the world with very little support and we can stand up and not only operate, but provide customer service.”