D-M forces participate in readiness exercise

Release Number: 011907

The 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is conducting an Operational Readiness Exercise through Jan. 26.  

During this exercise, Tucson residents may notice an increase in night-flying activities from the base, with flights going as late as midnight Jan. 23 through 25.  The base will make efforts, as safety requirements allow, to minimize flight operations that cause undue stress to the community.

The extended flying operations during the exercise reflect the conditions the flying squadrons exercise in combat environments.  Creating realistic conditions is an essential element to making the exercise an effective training event for D-M's Airmen.

The Operational Readiness Exercise trains D-M forces in deployment, mobility capabilities, alert signals, operating in a forward-deployed area, anti-terrorism measures and force protection. At any given time, 500 to 1,500 Airmen from Davis-Monthan could be deployed around the world in defense of the United States.  Operational Readiness Exercises, like the ongoing one, ensure that Airmen remain prepared for combat operations.  There are currently about 900 Airmen from D-M deployed around the globe.

The first phase of the exercise, which began Jan. 16, tests the base's deployment process by ensuring Airmen, equipment, and aircraft are prepared to depart on short notice. On Jan. 22, the base begins the "employment" phase of the exercise. During this phase, various squadrons will move operations to "Desert Lightning City" - a tent-city located on base that offers a simulation of working environments in deployed locations.

During both phases of the exercise, numerous squadrons go into 24-hour operations, with Airmen working around the clock in 12- to 14-hour shifts. These schedules are similar to what our Airmen will experience when they actually deploy.  As stated earlier, flying operations are scheduled to end no later than midnight.

Headquarters Air Combat Command will test the 355th Wing's combat capabilities in an Operational Readiness Inspection next month.  The current exercise is the last opportunity for the wing to prepare together for that inspection.