Global Thunder 21 flies through Fairchild

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kiaundra Miller
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

Fairchild Airmen participated in the U.S. Strategic Command’s exercise, Global Thunder 21, Oct. 19-23, focused on training Airmen to communicate on a global scale, providing global reach and enabling strategic deterrence.

“It gives us an opportunity to generate aircraft and aircrew in support of the mission of strategic deterrence and global reach,” said Master Sgt. Clayton Simon, 92nd Air Refueling Wing inspector general exercise planner.

Global Thunder allows Fairchild and other bases supporting the strategic deterrence mission to communicate and assess operational readiness in a joint environment.

“We communicated how we were operating with other bases to USTRANSCOM,” Simon said. “We were able to collaborate our timing and forces and demonstrate, in the event we had to move all of these forces, our capabilities in doing so.”

Despite the challenges that come with the COVID-19 pandemic, Team Fairchild was still able to participate in exercise Global Thunder, which is the nuclear command and control exercise for USSTRATCOM,, Simon said.   “Once the pandemic began, it changed the way we operated, and not only did we have to take into consideration proper COVID-19 mitigations, but we also had to make sure that we were still capable of conducting an efficient rapid response.”

By challenging Airmen across Fairchild, exercise Global Thunder ensures successful mission readiness and that everyone is ready to deter, compete and win.

“Global Thunder is an intense exercise that allows us to simulate a high stress environment that we don’t normally experience,” said Maj. Megan Russel, 97th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker pilot. “That kind of stress sets us up for success, should we ever have to execute this mission real-time.”

Fairchild’s Airmen are on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week, standing ready to enable USSTRATCOM’s forces, and by successfully executing exercise Global Thunder, Team Fairchild can continue to be prepared with an enhanced mobility response to deter attacks against the United States and its allies.

“Every time Fairchild exercises, they exercise to the best of their ability, and we never leave anything on the table,” Simon said. At every level, our Airmen work as hard as they can, and we always successfully generate our forces. Whether it’s an exercise or real-time operations, you can’t ask for more than that.