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New Jersey and Pennsylvania Air Forces work together on exercise > National Guard > View article

New Jersey and Pennsylvania Air Forces work together on exercise > National Guard > View article
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Air Forces work together on exercise > National Guard > View article

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NJ – Civil engineers from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing participated in the 177th Fighter Wing’s Piney Devil Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (Prime BEEF) exercise.

Last month’s exercise included lectures and tasks to test participants’ ability to provide the technical support required to set up an air base and accommodate people and aircraft.

“We are a Prime BEEF squadron. Our job is to repair and fix bases. If it’s not there, we’ll make it happen,” said Lt. Col. Lucas Smith, 177th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “So as a Prime BEEF team, we have to conduct a 96-hour training event about every four years. This exercise allows us to provide Prime BEEF training to the members who were excused from training in Alaska last year and to the members who are new to our squadron.”

During the exercise, Airmen also erected a Disaster Relief Beddown System tent and flew UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to the Warren Grove Range to conduct land navigation and simulated combat exercises.

“You’ll have to leave the base and navigate overland through the pine forests with a compass and a map to find someone,” Smith said. “You’ll be in an unfamiliar environment and have to deal with the weather and exhaustion. You’ll be up against opposing forces and another team trying to do the same thing, and when the teams meet, we’ll see who wins.”

In addition to the practical exercises, the Airmen briefed a simulated base commander on their plan for the initial establishment of an air base.

Col. Brian Cooper, commander of the 177th Maintenance Group, served as the simulated base commander and provided feedback after the meeting.

“It was a great collaborative effort,” Cooper said. “These are great exercises with different Air National Guard units because they allow them to learn and work together in a great training environment to bring more realism to what we’re going to do in the future with agile combat operations as a deployed fighter squadron.”

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