by Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
116th Air Control Wing
8/27/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The
Georgia Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing hosted the eighth
annual Boars Nest Large Force Exercise bringing together more than 20
joint-force units and 55 different aircraft for aircrew training in a
realistic threat environment, August 18-20.
Boars Nest provided the unique opportunity for aircrews from the 116th
ACW; flying the Air Force E-8C Joint STARS aircraft, a manned, battle
management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance platform, to integrate with the Navy's newest marine
patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon from Patrol and
Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN out of Naval Air Station, Jacksonville,
One of the chief planners for the exercise, Capt. Clayton Gibbs, an air
battle manager with the 116th Air Control Wing, served as a liaison
officer at the exercise air operation center based at The Air Dominance
Center in Savannah, Georgia.
"This exercise showed that the JSTARS manned platform and the P-8
provided an amazing capability to detect, locate and classify maritime
targets when the two aircraft are linked in together working
cooperatively," said Gibbs.
Broadening the integration between the ANG and naval air assets, two
JSTARS liaison officers flew missions aboard the P-8, a first for the
"I learned a lot of very useful information and was able to share a lot
of information while flying with the P-8 Poseidon crew," said Lt. Col.
Victor Ellis, liaison officer for the exercise from the 116th ACW.
"During the Boars Nest simulated war at sea, we used the complementary
strengths of JSTARS and the P-8 to positively identify maritime vessels
over a large area of responsibility and determine whether they were
friendly, enemy, or neutral." said Ellis. "Our timeline to successfully
interdict enemy maritime targets was significantly shortened using our
Adding another joint aspect to the maritime portion of the exercise,
Marine Aircraft Group 31, flying F/A-18 Hornets out of Beaufort Marine
Corps Air Station, South Carolina acted as mission commander for all
JSTARS controlled maritime strike packages.
"We don't normally train with the F-18's so this was another highlight for us," said Gibbs.
In all, this year's Boars Nest allowed the 116th ACW to bring together
joint assets including fifth-generation Air Force F-22 Raptor and F-35
Lightning II fighter aircraft for a large force exercise in keeping with
one of the wing's long-term goals said Gibbs.
"Our long-term goal is to tap into on-going exercises and resources
available at The Air Dominance Center and take it to the next level with
JSTARS integration," said Gibbs. "Traditionally when a unit comes to
The Air Dominance Center it's for more of an air-to-air type of
environment. With exercises like Boars Nest, we bring the air-to-ground
perspective and are able to do it more economically by tagging onto an