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Marines prepare an F/A-18C Hornet to take off from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort during Exercise Sentry Savannah 2015, Aug 21. Sentry Savannah is a joint service air operation hosted by the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center, Ga. The Marines are with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, Marine Aircraft Group 31.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy

Sentry Savannah 2015 takes off once more

26 Aug 2015 | Lance Cpl. Jonah Lovy Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

    Marines, airmen and national guardsmen are participating in Exercise Sentry Savannah 2015 hosted by the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center, Ga. Aug. 21 to Sept. 14. 
    Several squadrons from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, including Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, flew training exercises for Sentry Savannah, Aug 21. 
    “Sentry Savannah is a large force exercise conducted out of Savannah,” said Maj. Paul Pfeifer, the executive officer for VMFA-115. “It brings in all the assets that are in local areas. The Florida Air National Guard flies their F-15Cs during the exercise. F-35Bs and F/A-18s from MCAS Beaufort fly as well as F-16s from Shaw and Mcguire Air Force Bases.”
    Marine Fighter Attack Squadron115, also known as the Silver Eagles, are participating alongside their fellow Marines in the annual event to give pilots valuable experience flying alongside a large number of aircraft and simulating large scale joint missions. 
    “I flew a red air mission simulating enemy aircraft in a large force exercise,” said Pfeifer. “It was a joint exercise with Air Force and Marine Corps assets.”
     A total force of 1,400 air warfighters are training off the coast of Savannah and performing bombing runs at the Townsend Bombing Range throughout the exercise. Each available squadron aboard Fightertown will send a detachment of jets in the coming weeks.  
    “Most of the squadrons aboard MCAS Beaufort right now, such as VMFA-115, VMFA(AW)-224 and VMFA(AW)-533, all participate in the exercise flying various roles,” said Pfeifer. 
     Marines may be required to coordinate with the Air Force, Army, and Air National Guard in a time of war.  This exercise puts a huge emphasis on teamwork regardless of the branch of service. 
    “The exercise is preparing us for a battlefield environment where we would have to work with the other services to accomplish a mission,” said Pfeifer. “It’s an exercise that helps us work on interoperability among our fellow branches.”
    Working with other branches gives Marines the opportunity to improve their skills as pilots by learning techniques and maneuvers from their fellow servicemen. Every branch has a unique way of conducting missions that Marines can learn from. 
    "We were the only Marines there and we rarely get to integrate with other branches," said Capt. Nathaniel Griggs, a pilot with Marine Aviation Training Support Squadron. "They all wanted to know how we do things and we wanted to know how they do things."
    This is the second year the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center has hosted the exercise and they plan to continue facilitating Sentry Savannah in the future. Squadrons aboard MCAS Beaufort train constantly to prepare themselves to be effective in a deployed environment.