Sentry Eagle is a joint Air National Guard (ANG), Air Force, and Navy air-to-air combat training exercise hosted by the 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Sentry Eagle debuted in 1986 as a means of improving combat effectiveness, originally a yearly event until 1990 when it was changed to a biennial event.  The small airfield of Kingsley Field becomes very busy as 40 to 50 aircraft from about a dozen squadrons arrive for the four day exercise and open house.

This year the units included:

F-15 Eagle

  • 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base, OR
  • 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno, CA
  • 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland, OR

F-16 Fighting Falcon

  • 162nd, Fighter Wing, Tucson, AZ
  • 149th Fighter Wing, Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX
  • 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, UT

F/A-18 Super Hornet

  • VFA-25 NAS Lemoore, CA
  • VFA-151 NAS Lemoore,CA
  • VFA-106 TacDemo Team, NAS Oceana, VA

F-35 Lightning II

  • 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, AZ

KC-135 Stratotanker

  • 141st Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA

It is one of the Air National Guard’s largest air-to-air exercises, providing military pilots of the various services the opportunity to experience combat like conditions against dissimilar aircraft in air combat tactics, close-air support and large-force employment training.  There were two sorties on Thursday and Friday and one for Saturday and Sunday.

There was an open house for the exercise on Saturday where the public is allowed to watch the preparation and launch of the aircraft, and take a close look at static displays.  There was also a demonstration of the F/A-18 Super Hornet performed by VFA-106 Gladiators in the morning before the launch. 

Colonel Jeff Smith, Commander of the 173rd Fighter Wing, said his favorite part of Sentry Eagle is the open house when the base welcomes all the civilian guests.  “It keeps public support up and it keeps us connected to the community.”

Two aircraft stood out as the “must have” shots for photographers.  One was the F-15 based at Kingsley Field painted up as an Eagle in tribute to Oregon’s  75th anniversary of the Air National Guard,  and the second was a Texas ANG F-16 painted in WWII invasion stripes to commemorate the USAF 70th anniversary.

We’d like to thank the men and women of 173rd Fighter Wing, with special thanks to Col. Jeff Smith for the interview, and MSgt. Jennifer D. Shirar of the Public Affairs Office for arranging the media day.