Jersey Devils train at Operation Snowbird

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shane Karp
  • 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
More than 200 members with the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard arrived at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Feb. 18 to take part in training at Operation Snowbird.

Unit members are training here in a variety of areas such as base and flight line operations, weapons assembly and loading, maintenance, life support and avionics.

Operation Snowbird serves as an opportunity for Airmen with the 177th to demonstrate the skill sets they have been training for at their home station, said Col. Kerry M. Gentry, commander of the 177th.

"The training here allows us to validate the integrity of our three-pronged weapons system," said Gentry. "This system includes the pilot, the aircraft and its associated systems, and the maintenance crew."

Pilots with the 119th Fighter Squadron work together here with the 227th Air Support Operations Squadron to coordinate air strikes over Barry Goldwater Range, a 1.9 million acre bombing range located at Gila Bend Air Station, Ariz.

"For the pilots to get out here to new ranges, it challenges all their skill sets that they have been training with back home," said Gentry.

Operation Snowbird is an aerial training detachment operated by the 162nd Fighter Wing with ideal flying conditions and surrounding environments that replicate deployment locations.

"Practicing in an environment different than the situations we are used to back home helps prepare us to deal with a variety of uncommon issues and increases mission capabilities," said Airman 1st Class Shauna Hendrickson, an aircrew flight equipment specialist with the 177th.