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Deployed Warbirds train how they fight during Tropic Fury exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ryan Whitney
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron recently completed exercise Tropic Fury, a nine-day exercise conducted over the Pacific Ocean Jan. 20-29.

Planning for this exercise began in November, and was orchestrated primarily by company grade officers with support and oversight from leadership. Though this was not a large exercise with multiple participants, as past exercises have been, the training was invaluable to the deployed men and women of the 23rd EBS.

The exercise was conducted as it would be for a real world crisis. Aircrews were put on alert and were completely unaware of their flight paths or takeoff times until they received their pre-take-off briefings. This better simulated the rapid response capability of the aircraft and trains the crews for a wartime situation, according to Capt. Joe Little, Weapons and Tactics Flight commander.

This exercise was also vital in the training of Aircrew on the tactical use of Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles (CALCMs) and Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs). Weapons which would prove to be essential should a conflict occur while the unit is in the Pacific.

"These weapons are the ones that would be kicking down the doors if a war were to break out and this training helps keep our aircrew ready for anything," Captain Little said.

To ensure the 23rd EBS got the most accurate training available, members of the aircrew coordinated the exercise through Air Combat Command Detachment 1 and the 480th Intelligence Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

One of the biggest differences between this exercise and previous exercises was the flight strength. "Most of the formations throughout this exercise were three and four-ship formations, which many of these aircrews haven't gotten exposure to since we started flying two-ship formations in 2003," Captain little continued.

The 23rd EBS is deployed here from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., as a Continuous Bomber Presence in support of Andersen Air Force Bases Global Deterrence mission throughout the Pacific Region, showcasing U.S. commitment to peace and stability in the region.