Northern Edge 2019 comes to a close

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Caitlin Russell
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Approximately 10,000 Airmen, Marines and Sailors journeyed back to their respective home stations following participation in exercise Northern Edge 2019, May 13-24.

The fully integrated, large-scale exercise provided realistic and comprehensive joint training opportunities in and around Alaskan land and airspace, as well as in and above the Gulf of Alaska. NE19 participants trained on defensive counter-air, close-air support and air interdiction of maritime targets.

“The exercise has given us the confidence that when presented with a tough scenario, we’ll fight through it and dominate it," said Brig. Gen. Daniel Heires, Northern Edge 2019 exercise director. “It is important for all of our joint partners to be able to train to current and future developing capabilities in a robust combat operational environment, so that we’ll be able to respond to any crisis at a moments notice.”

The training during NE19 benefits all participants and provides service members a chance to prove they are ready to face any contingency. This year, the exercise also included the Navy aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt as a participant.

“We cannot understate the importance of having the carrier as part of the exercise,” Heires said. “The carrier strike group is an essential part of our power projection but no force fights alone. You have to integrate it with the air components and applicable land components. So, having the carrier here has allowed us to focus on how we integrate the carrier in a full spectrum operation.”

Eglin Air Force Base test units, the 40th Flight Test Squadron and 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, continued their mission in the combat exercise environment.  Squadron F-15s and F-16s flew test missions throughout their third year of participation. 

With the joint training completed, exercise leadership will use the information gathered to measure the current combat capabilities. The analysis determines how well the services integrated and equipment performed in the Alaskan environment. The information is then used in joint publications that all the services use to improve interoperability.

Aircrews completed more than 1,400 sorties, spent 3,900 hours flying and delivered approximately 15.1 thousand gallons of fuel throughout the exercise.