HomeNewsArticle Display

117 ARW Participates in Southern Strike

117th Refuels for Southern Strike

Airmen prepare a KC-135 for takeoff in support of Exercise Southern Strike on the flight line at the 117th Air Refuelling Wing, Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base, Birmingham, Ala. January 23, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Staff Sgt. Jim Bentley)

117th Refuels for Southern Strike

Airmen prepare a KC-135 for takeoff in support of Exercise Southern Strike on the flight line at the 117th Air Refuelling Wing, Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base, Birmingham, Ala. January 23, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Staff Sgt. Jim Bentley)

117th Refuels for Southern Strike

Aircrew personnel at the pre-flight briefing prior to a refueling mission in support of Exercise Southern Strike at the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base, Birmingham, Alabama. January 23, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Staff Sgt. Jim Bentley)

117th Refuels for Southern Strike

Airmen prepare a KC-135 for takeoff in support of Exercise Southern Strike on the flight line at the 117th Air Refuelling Wing, Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base, Birmingham, Alabama. January 23, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Staff Sgt. Jim Bentley)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --

The 117th Air Refueling Wing participated in Exercise Southern Strike above the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month.

KC-135R Stratotankers from the 117 ARW refueled F-22 Raptors and F-35 Stealth Fighters that were simulating tactical dogfights. 

Southern Strike is a Joint Force Exercise hosted annually by the Mississippi Air National Guard. The event provides an opportunity to engage in realistic scenarios modeled after the training objectives of the participants. 

“This is exactly how we would operate if we were in a deployed environment,” said Capt. Sam Kniskern, from the 106th Air Refueling Squadron. 

The scenarios are designed based on crises currently encountered or anticipated worldwide.

“They would already have their set areas where they’re practicing their Combat Air Patrols or Close Air Support, and we would take off from our base, fly over to a set point we’ve already coordinated where we’d give them the gas.”

Combat Air Patrol is the aerial defense of a given area from hostile aircraft, and Close Air Support refers to aerial strikes on targets that are close to friendly forces.