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Annual ‘Northern Lightning’ exercise returns to Volk Field Aug 8-19

By Capt. Jenna Lenski

Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center will host the annual Northern Lightning Counterland exercise Aug. 8-19, which includes nearly 1,000 personnel from approximately 20 active duty Air Force, National Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps units.

Northern Lightning is a tactical-level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battle space with current and future weapons platforms. A variety of the world’s most advanced aircraft including the F-35, F-22, and F-16 will participate in the exercise.

Volk Field CRTC is one of the premier training installations and airspaces in the country, thanks to its expansive airspace and the quality of the training the installation can simulate.

Northern Lightning is one of seven Air National Guard joint accredited exercises held at a Combat Readiness Training Center, and the installation’s reputation as one of the country’s finest training areas continues to grow.

Likewise, Northern Lightning has grown into a world-class exercise.

Col. Ben Staats, the exercise director, said Northern Lightning offers an unmatched training experience as well as first-class facilities and training areas.

“We are thrilled to once again host the annual Northern Lightning exercise at Volk Field,” said Staats. “Northern Lightning has evolved into one of the finest exercises in the nation, simulating offensive counter-air and surface-to-air attacks. Our goal is to provide a joint environment where units from multiple branches of the U.S. military can work together to accomplish training that is essential to their operational readiness.”

Pilots and air crews participating in Northern Lightning can expect to operate in a contested environment with adversary aircraft, electronic jamming and simulated surface-to-air threats, and such training is critical to building readiness for the threats and missions the nation faces.

Units from around the country and across all branches of the military will participate in the exercise including: the 115th Fighter Wing from Madison; the 128th Air Refueling Wing from Milwaukee; the 162d Wing from Tucson, Arizona; the 58th Fighter Squadron from Eglin Air Force Base; the 179th Fighter Squadron from Duluth, Minnesota; the 94th Fighter Squadron from Langley, Virginia; the 109th Air Control Squadron from Salt Lake City, Utah; Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 and Marine Air Control Squadron 1 from Yuma, Arizona; and more.

The general public can expect to see an increase in aircraft activity in and around the Camp Douglas area from Aug. 8-19.

Those living in the following counties can anticipate increased military flight operations in the airspace: Adams, Brown, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Jackson, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Outagamie, Portage, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood.