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Copperheads Respond at Moments Notice

Aircrew members of the 161st Operations Group race to a KC-135R Stratotanker to start engines during a generation exercise at Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, April 6, 2014. This mobility exercise involves “fast response” techniques in order to ensure the aircrew can react quickly and effectively when missions require a moment’s notice.  (U. S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Enos/Released)

Aircrew members of the 161st Operations Group race to a KC-135R Stratotanker to start engines during a generation exercise at Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, April 6, 2014. This mobility exercise involves “fast response” techniques in order to ensure the aircrew can react quickly and effectively when missions require a moment’s notice. (U. S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Enos/Released)

PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- 161st Air Refueling Wing airmen put their training and skills to the test during an aircraft generation exercise at Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, during April's drill weekend.

The exercise was focused on evaluating the 161 ARW's effectiveness and quick response to planning and generating a large number of KC-135 Stratotankers, with no-notice, in support of possible global contingencies. KC-135 units have multi-mission sets, so they need to be ready to support various missions.

Lt. Col. Hoyt Slocum, 161st Wing Inspection Team chief, said that because the Wing supports such varied missions these exercises are important - they validate the Wing's readiness to quickly and effectively generate crew and aircraft.

The exercise's main objective was to rapidly generate and simulate deploying all tasked support as quickly as possible. One of the timelines the Wing evaluated was alert crew response timing. This measures the swiftness at which the alert crew responds to combat taskings, literally running out to waiting aircraft when the klaxon is sounded.

"The exercise was a great opportunity to evaluate the 161 ARW's ability to execute mission requirements and hone the necessary skills needed to perform our missions safely and successfully," said Colonel Slocum. "We train and evaluate year-round to maintain our edge."