SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A week long exercise testing the 185th Air Refueling Wing’s ability to mobilize, set up and operate in a deployed location is underway.
Several aircraft including the KC-135 regularly seen flying over western Iowa departed Monday morning from Sioux Gateway Airport. The week-long event involves nearly every agency that is part of the 185th Air Refueling Wing.
Guard members from New York, New Hampshire and Illinois all staging in Sioux City before departing for the week-long mission.
Guard members were originally scheduled to depart for the Gulf Coast region, but after months of planning the exercise had to be moved because of bad weather assosicated with Hurricane Sally.
” I think based on the weather forecast there we probably would have gotten our first team in there in the C-130. The follow-up missions a few hours later, the weather was only getting worse. People can hunker down in buildings but airplanes are obviously expensive when out in the weather,” said Exercise Deployment Commander Lt. Col. Scott Slaughter.
Slaughter said the team shifted gears in less than 24 hours to make to move out of the gulf region.
Topeka Kansas is now serving as the mission training site.
This week’s event serves as a dry run in the event a home base becomes unuseable because of enemy action or natural disaster.
Lt. Col. Slaughter says the 185th would be able to rapidly deploy.
“That includes airplanes, maintenance, aircrew, support functions to supply meals, doctors, lawyers, public affairs officers, and finance to support every function that we need day to day in an air wing at that deployed location,” Slaughter said.