Red Tails conduct readiness exercise Published Nov. 5, 2018 By Senior Amn. Hayden Johnson 187th Fighter Wing Public Affairs DANNELLY FIELD, Ala. -- The 187th Fighter Wing participated in a base-wide readiness assessment November 2-3, 2018, here. Named VIPEREX 1805, the intent of the exercise included assessing readiness by focusing on the unit’s ability to survive and operate in a deployed environment with the possibility of chemical warfare threats. “The exercise went to our expectations of what we were looking for overall,” said Master Sgt. David Shuster, 187th FW superintendent of inspection planning. “As a military force, we’re here to operate in a deployed environment, and we definitely showed we can do that.” For many Airmen,VIPEREX was their first time experiencing this type of training. The wing has performed smaller scale exercises in the past, but not to this level in approximately ten years. “To see how they would operate in a wartime environment if we came under attack, how to respond, what to do to protect themselves, and how to adapt to get the mission done, was very beneficial,” Shuster said. “Doing the mission at home and doing the mission in a deployed environment in an area where you’re under attack, is completely different, so they get to see that and prepare for when the time does come.” The Red Tails will continue to perform exercises like this to actively maintain readiness. “Our ability to maintain readiness is key to our local and global response capability,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Harris, the Red Tail’s command chief. “With uncertainties surrounding situations we could encounter ahead, our command team prioritizes familiarization and preparation. We are proud of the way our Airmen responded, and we will continue to thrive through preparation in the exercises planned in the coming months.” The wing will integrate an amplified exercise schedule as the Red Tails continue to prepare for their F-35A Lighting II mission integration. The U.S. Air Force selected Dannelly Field as a preferred location for the next Air National Guard F-35A base in December 2017, projecting the 5th generation aircraft’s arrival in 2023.