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News > Reservist leads 3rd Wings' 'War Day' exercise planning
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War Day
Lt. Col. James Suhr, 3rd Operations Support Squadron commander and Maj. Christopher Miller, chief of Wing Weapons, review an in-flight guide following the mass War Day mission brief at the Red Flag building on JBER Jan. 27. Miller, a Reservist assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron, led the scenario planning effort for the War Day exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)
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Reservist leads 3rd Wings' 'War Day' exercise planning

Posted 2/1/2012   Updated 2/1/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

2/1/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron is the lead planner for the Arctic Integration Training or War Day that occurred here Jan. 27.

Maj. Christopher Miller, chief of 3rd Wing Weapons, is responsible for developing the scenario for the War Day exercise that will include all the aircraft assigned to JBER along with a KC-135 from Scott AFB, Ill. and F-16s from Misawa Air Base, Japan and Eielson AFB, Alaska.

The main objective of this monthly exercise is for the members of the 3rd Wing and 477th FG to learn about each of the airframes within the wing and the personnel associated with them.

"The F-22's don't integrate with C-17 and C-130 assets on a daily basis," said Miller. "This training provides an opportunity for the members of the F-22, E-3, C-17, and C-130 squadrons on base to meet face-to-face and determine a solution to the scenario that Wing Weapons has provided. It really is a team building exercise -- the 3rd Wing and 477th plan, brief, execute, and debrief together."

When developing the scenario Miller takes into account the real world taskings that the various airframes on JBER would face in order to make the exercise as realistic as possible.

"[Wing Weapons] also coordinates with the other airframe Weapons Officer and utilizes their inputs and help to maximize the training for operators within the 3rd Wing."

While War Day exercises are conducted at other bases there are some aspects of Alaska that make training here unique.

"We have surface-to-air emitters on the range which allow for effective training against ground threats," said Miller.

"Additionally, the size of the range and the type of terrain makes training in Alaska unique," said Lt. Col. James Suhr, 3rd Operations Support Squadron commander.

Although integrating with other airframes is a unique aspect to the War Day, total force integration is not new to JBER. Reserve F-22 pilots assigned to the 302nd FS a subordinate unit to the 477th FG, which stood up in 2007, integrate with the active duty F-22 units in every aspect of the mission.

"Having a Reservist as the chief of Wing Weapons is unique here," said Suhr. "The 477th is fully integrated in our day-to-day operations and Reservists serve in pivotal roles like chief of Wing Weapons and chief of Alert Operations."

As active duty manning cuts loom, Reserve involvement in the active duty mission has become paramount.

"Reservists bring with them experience and tactical expertise," said Suhr. "Without Miller as chief of Wing Weapons the active duty would have to pull a weapons officer out of the squadron to fill this job. Having the Reserve support to fill full time active duty jobs has been critical to getting the mission done."

While Miller had the lead on planning the scenario for this exercise it did require full support from other shops within the 3rd OSS.

"The Wing Scheduling and Mobility Air Forces Operations Flight were critical to getting the tanker support and coordinating the large number of aircraft in the airspace with the FAA," said Suhr. "It was a squadron effort to make this exercise successful."

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