A NATO E-3A Sentinel and its crew arrived at Seymour Johnson
Air Force Base, N.C., Aug. 8 to conduct training missions with 4th
Fighter Wing aircrews. The Sentinel, which is an Airborne Early
Warning and Control System aircraft from Geilenkirchen, Germany,
will conduct mock dogfights between the wing's fighter aircraft.
Using its trademark 30-foot exterior satellite, the AWACS aircraft
will provide Strike Eagle aircrews with "enemy" positions.
"Our sole purpose is to be the eyes for the aircraft so they can
be forewarned if another aircraft is in their vicinity -- friend or
foe," said Capt. Gurhan Tarman, the Sentinel's co-pilot from the
Turkish Air Force.
The aircrews participating in the dogfight will separate into
two teams -- the good guys and the bad guys, Capt. Bruce Douglas
said, a crewmember on the Sentinel.
"Hopefully, the good guys win," he said. The crew will stay
until Aug. 27, and will help Strike Eagle aircrews in many ways,
said Capt. Nicholas Suppa, assistant director of staff of the 335th
"The greatest thing that we get from the exercise is the fact
that we get face-to-face brief and debrief opportunities with one
another, something that we normally do not get between ourselves
and AWACS crews," he said.
The AWACS crew consists of 23 crewmembers from 15 European and
North American nations. Staff Sgt. Jolene Curphey, a surveillance
operator on the Sentinel, said flying with an international aircrew
provides a great learning experience that can transfer to the
"It's really great to work with people from different places,"
Sergeant Curphey said. "The crew learns something new with every
place we go." The AWACS crew and Captain Suppa agree the training
mission benefits both components in the long run, especially during
deployments where units from different nations are called upon to
fight side by side.
"The integration of our two systems is integral in our missions,
and the more we are able to take from each occasion that we work
together, the better we are able to execute our missions with
precision," Captain Suppa said. [ANN Salutes Airman 1st Class
Marissa Tucker, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs]