The Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing is hosting a large force exercise with an F-16 unit from Fort Worth here at JBSA-Lackland May 21, 2022. The exercise will be incorporating modernized tactics of fourth and fifth generation aircraft in advanced aerial combat and will also provide a platform for enhanced cooperation between the two fighter units. The fleet of fighter jets arriving to train with the 182nd Fighter Squadron, a sub-unit of the 149th, is from the 457th FS, attached to Fort Worth’s Air Force Reserve 301st FW.
“It’s nearly impossible to replicate the numbers of threats you’ll see in a major combat operation with a single squadron flying,” said Maj Michael Malone, 182nd F-16 instructor pilot. “By bringing in another squadron, we are able to provide a more realistic scenario for air combat.”
“An annual contest of combat prowess will make everyone participating better,” Malone said. “As the only fighter unit in the Texas Guard, we strive to be the best fighter pilots in the world. To be the best, it’s important to train against the best, and it should be a lot of fun.”
Each squadron is being assigned a 30-minute window to “defend the Alamo” during the exercise, adding a contest-like flair, where each four-ship team must defend the Alamo from adversarial action. The winner of the challenge is to be esteemed “The Greatest Fighter Squadron in the South” until the following year, where the winning team will once again compete to keep their hard-earned title.
The exercise also provides an opportunity to break in the 149th FW’s newly revamped live mission operation center as a “war room” of sorts, where aircraft monitoring systems and digital radios will be positioned to track each team’s tactics and maneuvers. Residents living in areas near 1604 and Highway 90 and the Sea World area may hear some increased aircraft activity between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday as our pilots hone their combat skills while employing more modern and realistic training.