By Tech. Sgt. Christian Jadot, 144th FW
Airman of the 144 th Fighter Wing have been to the far reaches of the world in exercises and real world missions.
This month Wings from around the country come to Fresno, California to participate in Valley Thunder.
Valley Thunder is set to be a two-week military fighter jet training exercise being conducted in training airspaces
in the region, and is hosted by the 144th FW’s 194th Fighter Squadron.
“The Fresno air national guard base is being used as the central location to the participating units and it’s
proximity to the required training air space,” U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Hale, 194th FS pilot and Valley
Thunder operations project officer, said, “The major difference in this exercise is that we are going to treat it as
closely as we can to a real-world operation where there are daily consequences to your actions.”
Aircraft from units in Arizona, Oregon and California will be participating in this air combat training exercise.
F-15s, F-16s, F-35s, F-22s, and T38s are just some of the airframes participating.
“Pilots from various branches and countries will be flying integrated operations with the dissimilar aircraft
against a variety of adversaries,” said Hale. “This exercise will provide excellent training for all units involved.
Multiple war fighting scenarios will be featured during the exercise delivering a unique competitive experience
that requires flexibility and creativity for everyone.”
The scenarios of the war-fighting portion of the training exercise will include carry over effects from each of the
day’s previous missions.
“This is a permanent consequences exercise with a finite number of missiles, pilots, jets, and other resources,”
added Hale. “So if we launch with four jets and one is defeated, we only have three jets to work with for the next
launch, just like real-world operations.”
The size and pace of the exercise is unusual for the Fresno Air Terminal and the surrounding community.
“We appreciate the Communities continued support of the 144th Fighter Wing and air operations in the central
valley,” said Hale.