Exercise Nexus Dawn kicked off April 26, 2021, at Travis Air Force Base, March Air Reserve Base, and in the skies above and between the California installations.
Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis and the 446th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., deployed to March over the weekend to kick off the units’ first large-scale West Coast readiness exercise since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two wings are joined by other Fourth Air Force units, including the 940th Air Refueling Wing from Beale, the 452nd Air Mobility Wing from March, the 931st Air Refueling Wing from McConnell AFB, Kansas, and the 512th Airlift Wing from Dover AFB, Del., and the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing.
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“Nexus Dawn represents one of the largest and best opportunities for Air Force Reserve personnel to train like they fight and maintain readiness in 2021 and beyond,” said Lt. Col. Gerard Guevara, 349th AMW director of inspections and his wing’s lead exercise planner.
Spanning the length of the Western seaboard, Nexus Dawn is designed to test and improve the training, equipment, and combat readiness of units from the Air Force Reserve, active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Marine Corps.
The exercise is designed to present a realistic series of challenges in which Airmen will generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated contested, degraded and operationally-limited environment.
“Ultimately, this is a test of our ability to support the Nation with airpower anytime, anywhere,” Guevara said.
Reserve Citizen Airmen from across Fourth Air Force spent months preparing with safety and public health offices to ensure protocols remain in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19, and that Airmen follow safety guidance on the ground and in the air during Nexus Dawn.
Participating units intend to harvest the fruits of their labor this week as Airmen hone their aeromedical evacuation, cargo and personnel airlift, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control skills.
“This exercise is a significant demonstration of your ability to plan and execute a major event from the unit level,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Pennington, Fourth Air Force commander, while speaking to planners and inspectors during their final meeting last week.
“It’s easy to take for granted the amount of intelligence and hard work it takes to make everything work, but there’s no one else like you in the world. I’m incredibly proud of you. So have a great time, look out for each other, and be safe.”
During the exercise, aircrews will fly missions in the KC-10 Extender, C-17 Globemaster III, C-5M Super Galaxy, KC-135 Stratotanker, and the KC-46A Pegasus, which will be added to the Travis inventory in 2023.
Nexus Dawn ran April 26-28.