EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
Prepare, deploy, and enable Airmen; that is the mission of the 354th Fighter Wing. To ensure preparedness for any contingency operations that may arise, Eielson routinely conducts various exercises to prepare its Airmen.
Beginning on Oct. 19, the 354th FW commenced exercise Arctic Gold 18-1 to promote the readiness and ability of its Airmen to accomplish the mission deploying in support of a contingency operation.
“The goal of AG 18-1 is to prove that we are ready to go at a moment’s notice,” said Lt. Col. Billy Allen, the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron commander and Deployed Forces commander for AG 18-1. “It’s important to practice and maintain these skills because we never know when we may need them.”
As part of the United States Pacific Command, an aspect of the Eielson Air Force Base mission is to help enhance stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Exercises like AG 18-1 prepare Airmen to do their part in making that happen.
“The fact that the wing puts such an emphasis on this directly correlates with PACOMs priority of being ‘ready to fight tonight’,” said Allen. “It allows us to know that we are ready to go when we are called upon.”
All around the Air Force, Airmen are routinely deployed. By creating simulated scenarios in AG 18-1, Airmen are better prepared to serve as force enablers to sustain regional security.
“These types of exercises get you in the mindset to be ready to deploy,” said Master Sgt. James Williams, a 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron plans and programs non commissioned officer in charge. “They also help you get your pre-deployment training done before you’re tasked to deploy.”
Although exercises such as this are focused on Airmen, they also play a crucial role in preparing families to be ready for real world operations.
“I have a lot of young Airmen in my squadron, and exercises like this are probably the first time their families have seen them uprooted from their normal schedule and sent out the door,” said Allen. “I think it’s a good way to set the stage for them so they know what to expect if it were to actually happen.”
AG 18-1, scheduled to occur until Oct. 27, is part of a series of readiness exercises the wing will conduct this fiscal year.