WV Air National Guard hosts 'Sentry Storm' training week - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV Air National Guard hosts 'Sentry Storm' training week

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Military units from across the United States are in Charleston for some very special flight training.

The 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard is hosting Sentry Storm this week.

Ben Simerman has been deployed as a pilot for the ANG since 2009.  He said the men and women are doing ground and air training on C-130's, huge military transport aircrafts.

Simerman has been on multiple deployments to Afghanistan and the Persian Golf.  He said the training he received in West Virginia helped him a great deal.

"I'd say I was well prepared, having flown here. We plan our routes under the simulation of the same idea we use when we're deployed."

Units from the Air National Guard, Army National Guard and Army Reserve will participate in tactical flight training, which includes dropping massive water drums from the back of the aircraft into a drop zone.

"We have un-congested airspace. We have a lot of areas where we can fly aircrafts low and practice our tactical flying training," he said.

Simerman said in real operational missions, like Afghanistan, they have to be ready to help the troops on the ground, whether it's dropping water, food, or supplies.

He said West Virginia's landscape is perfect for these types of aircraft training exercises.

"It's a lot easier in West Virginia. We have the mountainous terrain to practice some of our techniques, and low population to be disturbed on the ground," he said.

On Thursday, a six aircraft formation will take off from Camp Branch in Logan County.