Hill Reservists Receive Valuable Training During Georgia Exercise > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Sentry Savannah 2022, held during the first two weeks of May, gives active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Reserve Airmen the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness and their deployment capabilities.
Sentry Savannah not only trains and tests the counter-air capabilities of the next generation of fighter pilots, but also provides essential experience and training to maintenance Airmen in the rapid employment and recovery of aircraft.
Each year, Reservists participate in two weeks of active training – commonly referred to as the “annual round” – in addition to monthly exercise weekends, to learn and improve the skills necessary to operate effectively in a deployed environment.
For many Airmen, like Senior Airman Bryce Smith, an F-35 crew chief with the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Sentry Savannah is their first experience with the annual training tour away from home station.
“I was nervous at first just because it’s something I’ve never done before,” Smith said. “You always have butterflies in your stomach when you embark on something new, but it’s already a good experience.”
Sentry Savannah Reservists also practice employing the recently launched Multicapable Airman concept, where members not only learn skills in their own jobs, but also learn the roles of others so they are better prepared to carry out the assignment.
Airman 1st Class Miguel Perez, a fuel management technician with the 419th Maintenance Squadron, uses his first annual tour here to learn not only about his job in fuels, but other important maintenance roles as well. Perez worked alongside the crew chiefs of the 419th F-35 to observe and learn the tasks essential to their jobs.
“The crew chiefs and I did the launch and recovery of the jets, then they showed me how they refuel,” Perez said. “Then they showed me post-flight inspections and clearing transparencies. I learned a lot yesterday and I learned a lot today.”
This annual tour gives Perez opportunities he might not otherwise have on a regular drill weekend.
“It’s a confidence booster to be out there learning new things,” Perez said. “When I get home, if they need help launching the jets, I can help them.”
The confidence and knowledge gained during exercises such as Sentry Savannah are invaluable to Reserve Airmen and their mission. Daily challenges offer participants a chance to adapt and overcome, transforming them into more capable Airmen at home and abroad.
Hill Air Force Base is home to 78 F-35s. The reserve 419th FW and the active duty 388th FW fly and maintain the fleet as part of a Total Force partnership that capitalizes on the strengths of both components. Together, they are the first combat-capable units in the Air Force to fly and deploy the F-35.