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Reserve AWACS completes Sentry Aloha exercise

Senior Airman Najee Menefee, a communications and navigation specialist from the 513th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, hooks up a forced air hose to an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft on Feb. 4 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Senior Airman Najee Menefee, a communications and navigation specialist from the 513th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, hooks up a forced air hose to an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft on Feb. 4 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft flown by reservists from the 513th Air Control Group climbs into the sky Feb. 2 during a mission supporting Sentry Aloha 17-01 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft flown by reservists from the 513th Air Control Group climbs into the sky Feb. 2 during a mission supporting Sentry Aloha 17-01 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft flown by reservists from the 513th Air Control Group taxis for its last of nine missions on Feb. 3 supporting Sentry Aloha 17-01 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft flown by reservists from the 513th Air Control Group taxis for its last of nine missions on Feb. 3 supporting Sentry Aloha 17-01 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Maj. Johnny Villena, an air battle manager assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, poses with a brand-new member of the Hawaiian Air National Guard on Jan. 31 after completing her enlistment on board an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Maj. Johnny Villena, an air battle manager assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, poses with a brand-new member of the Hawaiian Air National Guard on Jan. 31 after completing her enlistment on board an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Maj. Matthew Heckman, an air battle manager assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, briefs Airmen assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Jan. 31 before a mission in support of Sentry Aloha. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Maj. Matthew Heckman, an air battle manager assigned to the 970th Airborne Air Control Squadron, briefs Airmen assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Jan. 31 before a mission in support of Sentry Aloha. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Col. Steven England, the 513th Air Control Group Deputy Commander, gives the Hawaiian greeting sign after returning from a mission on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Col. Steven England, the 513th Air Control Group Deputy Commander, gives the Hawaiian greeting sign after returning from a mission on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, while a passenger airplane prepares to land in the background. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, while a passenger airplane prepares to land in the background. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An Airman assigned to the 513th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron waits for an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft to taxi into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An Airman assigned to the 513th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron waits for an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft to taxi into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

An E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft taxis into place Jan. 25 after returning from a mission at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Master Sgt. Angela Leddy, Tech. Sgt. Andrew Mistowski and Master Sgt. Darrell Freel, Reservists assigned to the 513th Air Control Group, review a technical order on the flight line on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)
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Master Sgt. Angela Leddy, Tech. Sgt. Andrew Mistowski and Master Sgt. Darrell Freel, Reservists assigned to the 513th Air Control Group, review a technical order on the flight line on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer)

Senior Airman Alexander Sparks, an electrical and environmental specialist assigned to the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, walks on the flight line on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists and active-duty Airmen from the 513th Air Control Group and 552nd Air Control Wing deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer) (Parts of this image were blurred for security concerns.)
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Senior Airman Alexander Sparks, an electrical and environmental specialist assigned to the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, walks on the flight line on Jan. 25 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Reservists and active-duty Airmen from the 513th Air Control Group and 552nd Air Control Wing deployed to the Hawaiian Islands to provide command and control for Sentry Aloha 17-01, a primarily Reserve and Air National Guard exercise that involves more than 40 aircraft and 1,000 personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Caleb Wanzer) (Parts of this image were blurred for security concerns.)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

Reservists from the 513th Air Control Group finished their last day of Sentry Aloha 17-01, Feb. 3, marking a full two weeks of successful missions in one of the best training events in the unit's history.

 

The Sentry Aloha exercise was hosted by the Hawaiian Air National Guard's 154th Wing and involved multiple fighter, refueling and cargo aircraft primarily from Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units.

 

“It's been absolutely amazing,” said Lt. Col. David Cavazos, Sentry Aloha detachment commander. “We've controlled about 325 aircraft and have trained in every facet of capability that we need to be proficient in for mission execution.”

 

The daily missions have included simulated offensive and defensive scenarios involving Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft, with as many as 26 aircraft at once.

 

“For the 513th, Sentry Aloha offered a higher level of training than possible in the continental United States,” said Cavazos.

 

The reservists deployed to Hickam Field and flew 100 percent of the missions planned, despite encountering multiple maintenance issues with the E-3 Sentry.

 

“It's vital for us to get every sortie we can,” Cavazos said. “Every mission set is a rare opportunity, and we want to take full advantage of each one. Hats off to our reserve maintainers; their experience and dedication is what got this jet ready and kept it flying.”

 

Tech. Sgt. Isaac Van Cleave, a radar specialist assigned to the 513th Maintenance Squadron, was one of the maintenance Airmen ensuring the E-3 Sentry was ready for flight each day.

 

“One night we were out working on the jet until 2 a.m.,” Van Cleave said. “We always make sure we have enough people to fix the issues, but we’re out there until the job is done.”

 

The maintenance challenges that came with Sentry Aloha gave Van Cleave, a traditional reservist, a change to refresh his troubleshooting skills.

 

“I've been able to break some of the rust off,” he said. “Radar is a big system, so there's a lot of stuff we don't see too often. It's a good time to dig back into the technical orders, get my hands dirty with the jet and get reacquainted.”

 

The 513th also used Sentry Aloha as a test bed for new software, hardware and communications capabilities for the AWACS platform.

 

“We validated a $1.8 million E-3 software upgrade during the exercise and identified errors and points for improvement,” said Maj. Anne Ridlon, the chief of tactics for the 513th Operations Support Squadron. “We also coordinated efforts with Navy EA-18G Growlers, which gave us some unmatched jamming training in an environment which is rarely seen in other training.”

 

During the exercise, the AWACS reservists flew for 46 hours over the course of nine missions.