SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Fighter jets from the South Dakota Air Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing are roaring out of the Sioux City Air National Guard base this week as part of a readiness exercise.
Lt. Col Daniel Sanders, a South Dakota Air Guard pilot, said the exercise is to test the unit’s ability to relocate and quickly begin to generate sorties.
“We would normally like to do a lot of detailed planning to make it a smooth move. We want to see how quickly we can do it in a short time,” Sanders said.
During the week-long exercise, the South Dakota jets are departing and returning to the Sioux City Air Guard base each day.
“In addition to picking up and moving, we are also testing the aircrew’s ability to go take part in a large force employment,” Sanders said.
With only a portion of the unit’s F-16s in Sioux City, the idea of exercises is to show the South Dakota unit can quickly disperse aircraft from their home base and continue to operate in a deployed environment.
The Sioux City airport is home to the Iowa Air Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing, where they fly the much quieter KC-135 Air Refueling aircraft.
The exercise happened to take place while Sioux City’s 185th is participating in a similar mobility exercise in Gulfport, Mississippi, clearing ramp space to allow plenty of room for the Sioux Falls team to operate.