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114th Fighter Wing 2021 Readiness Exercise

Master Sgt. Andrew Lauck and Staff Sgt. Mikayla Wilson, 114th Fighter Wing crew chiefs, review maintenance checklists prior to daily training during the 2021 Readiness Exercise at Joe Foss Field, Aug. 5.

Master Sgt. Andrew Lauck and Staff Sgt. Mikayla Wilson, 114th Fighter Wing crew chiefs, review maintenance checklists prior to daily training during the 2021 Readiness Exercise at Joe Foss Field, Aug. 5. This exercise prepares Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios and is vital to ensure we are prepared for current and future contingencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

114th Medical Group medics receive scenario based training from a local health care professional utilizing a high fidelity patient simulator mannequin during the 114th Fighter Wing 2021 Readiness Exercise.

114th Medical Group medics receive scenario based training from a local health care professional utilizing a high fidelity patient simulator mannequin during the 114th Fighter Wing 2021 Readiness Exercise. Airmen had the opportunity to use these high-tech mannequins to receive hands-on training in a safe, no-risk environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021.

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021. This exercise prepares Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios and is vital to ensure the 114th Fighter Wing is prepared for current and future contingencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

Lt. Col. Karl Palmberg, 114th Operations Group deputy commander (right), briefs Maj. Gen. Jeffrey P. Marlette, The Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard, during a readiness exercise at Joe Foss Field, Aug. 5, 2021.

Lt. Col. Karl Palmberg, 114th Operations Group deputy commander (right), briefs Maj. Gen. Jeffrey P. Marlette, The Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard, during a readiness exercise at Joe Foss Field, Aug. 5, 2021. This exercise prepares Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios and is vital to ensure the 114th Fighter Wing is prepared for current and future contingencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

Senior Airman Sadie Vandersteen, 114th Logistics Readiness Squadron Traffic Management Office (TMO) specialist, operates a heavy duty Walkie Stacker while organizing shipments in the TMO warehouse.

Senior Airman Sadie Vandersteen, 114th Logistics Readiness Squadron Traffic Management Office (TMO) specialist, operates a heavy duty Walkie Stacker while organizing shipments in the TMO warehouse. The TMO is responsible for processing and managing cargo, as well as receiving supplies for the base, ensuring the South Dakota Air National Guard can fulfill its mission both in state and around the world. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021.

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021. This exercise prepares Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios and is vital to ensure the 114th Fighter Wing is prepared for current and future contingencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021.

The 114th Fighter Wing conducted a Readiness Exercise designed to test the Wing’s ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert facility with short notice, at Joe Foss Field on Aug. 4, 2021. This exercise prepares Airmen for future threats through experience in realistic combat scenarios and is vital to ensure the 114th Fighter Wing is prepared for current and future contingencies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Luke Olson/Released)

JOE FOSS FIELD, S.D. -- The 114th Fighter Wing executed a unique two-week Readiness Exercise (RE) that tested their ability to stand up an Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) sight, test Agile Combat Employment (ACE) skills on short notice, and facilitate Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) training at Joe Foss Field, S.D. and the surrounding area from Aug. 3-13, 2021.

“We're looking for a way to build better Airmen each and every day,” said Col. Mark Morrell, 114th Fighter Wing commander. “So the two week Readiness Exercise helps us focus on dynamic environments and problem solving for our Airmen at the very lowest level and also helps to build their foundational skills in basic weapons, basic emergency medicine survivability, as well as a broader category of possessing the ability to survive and operate in all environments.”

In part one of the RE, the 114FW stood up ACA sites that operated 24/7 at Joe Foss Field and surrounding areas to evaluate their ability to defend the mid-section of North America on short notice and to test ACE skills with realistic combat scenarios to train for current and future contingencies. The concept of ACE is having the ability to deploy with minimal equipment and Airmen to accomplish the flying mission.

“By the end of this exercise, we will have a strong mental picture of what it looks like to stand up an alert site here in Sioux Falls, which certainly increases our readiness to defend our homeland,” said Lt. Col. Karl Palmberg, 114th Operations Group deputy commander and 2021 Readiness Exercise planner. “It’s been very beneficial to get the training in for the primary mission as well as bolster our capabilities here at home.”

In part two of the RE, the 114th FW challenged Airmen to step outside their comfort zones and complete MCA training on tasks outside of their normal jobs through Warrior Breakout Sessions. These sessions consisted of numerous classes ranging from hand-to-hand combat to aircraft recovery and maintenance familiarization to Tactical Combat Casualty Care, among others. Many of these sessions were taught by combat readiness instructors from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

“I think that the nature of warfare in the future is likely to be very unpredictable,” said Morrell. “It’s likely to be in austere locations, and it’s likely to require Airmen to make their own risk management decisions in order to accomplish the mission. This MCA training gives our Airmen an increased warrior ethos so they can feel confident they can handle themselves mentally and physically, as well as professionally in any sort of environment, peacetime or in combat.”

Currently there is a push within the Air Force to transition our Airmen from being focused solely on their primary jobs to building multi-functional mission essential skills so Airmen are able to jump into the fight no matter where it is.

“We are committed to building the most ready and resilient force that we can,” said Morrell, “and part of that is building people who can deal with unpredictable and dynamic environments and problem solve quickly and confidently.”