114th Fighter Wing participates in Northern Lightning

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Bak
  • 114th Fighter Wing

Airmen of the 114th Fighter Wing participated in Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, May 1-12.

What started as an annual exercise with viper aircraft from around the Midwest, has grown into an air combat exercise involving around 1,500 service members from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and National Guard across the country.

“The vital reason for participating in these joint force exercises is to train for a large scale war where we will fight as a combined force, working together to accomplish the mission,” said Capt. Paul “MAR” Vaughan, 114th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot and chief of scheduling.

These large force exercises give real world scenarios and teach pilots how to amplify their capabilities by utilizing each aircraft’s individual assets.  Not only did they work in a joint environment, but the pilots also had the opportunity to integrate 4th and 5th generation aircraft during air combat exercises such as air interdiction, offensive counter air, dynamic targeting, and close air support. 

“It’s great to see the integration between all the players out there,” said Lt. Col. Steve “Tuttle” Schultz, 114th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot and chief of standardization/evaluation.

As a mission commander during the exercise, Schultz was in charge of leading a mission to solve tactical problems while achieving the ground commander’s intent.  Learning everyone’s role and what everyone brings to the fight helped them meet their objectives.

“The whole point of large force exercises is to get everybody working together," said Schultz.