CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. (WXOW)– The public may have already seen and heard the sound of jets and aircraft in the area for the next week or so.
The increase in activity in and around the Camp Douglas and Volk Field area through August 19 is due to the annual Northern Lightning exercise is taking place.
Northern Lightning is a tactical-level, joint training exercise replicating today’s air battle space with current and future weapons platforms. Nearly 1,000 personnel from approximately 20 active duty Air Force, National Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps units are at Volk Field participating in the exercise.
Units from around the country and across all branches of the military are participating in the exercise, including personnel from Utah, Maine, Arizona, and South Dakota.
Volk Field CRTC, located in Camp Douglas, is one of the premier training installations and airspaces in the country, thanks to its expansive airspace and the quality of the training the installation can simulate.
Northern Lightning is one of seven Air National Guard’s joint accredited exercises held at a Combat Readiness Training Center.
The installation’s reputation as one of the country’s finest training areas continues to grow as pilots and air crew welcome the F-35, one of the world’s most advanced aircraft.
This is the first time the F-35 has been assigned to any military units in Wisconsin.
Col. Ben Staats, the exercise director, says Northern Lightning offers an unmatched training experience as well as first-class facilities and training areas.
“We are thrilled to once again host the annual Northern Lightning exercise at Volk Field,” says Staats. “Northern Lightning has evolved into one of the finest exercises in the nation, simulating offensive counter-air and surface-to-air attacks.
Col. Staats says the goal is to provide a joint environment where units from multiple branches of the U.S. military can work together to accomplish training that is essential to their operational readiness.
According to military spokesperson Captain Jenna Lenski, pilots and air crews can expect to operate in a contested environment with adversary aircraft, electronic jamming and simulated surface-to-air threats, while participating in the exercise.
Captain Lenski says such training is critical to building readiness for the threats and missions the nation faces.
The public can expect to see aircraft in the skies above western and central Wisconsin during training sessions in the mornings and afternoons.