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Despite COVID-19, Nexus Dawn provides Reservists vital training and readiness tests

F-15C

Aircrew of the 70th Air Refueling Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, California, refuel a fellow KC-10 and four F-15C Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing in support of Exercise Nexus Dawn on April 27, 2021. The readiness exercise was designed to test the ability of multiple Air Force Reserve and California Air National Guard units to generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated combat environment. Missions included in the exercise are aeromedical evacuation, airlift for cargo and personnel, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control. Reserve Citizen Airmen from Travis, Beale, March, McChord, and McConnell Air Force Bases will participate in the exercise, as well as Air National Guardsmen from Fresno, Calif. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo by Senior Airman Maygan Straight)

WIT Team in action

Senior Master Sgt. Christine Palmer, 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, briefs Exercise Nexus Dawn participants prior to an aeromedical evacuation evaluation scenario on April 27, 2021 at Travis Air Force Base, California. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Santarinala)

349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron participating in Exercise Nexus Dawn perform their alert checklist prior to being airlifted Travis Air Force Base, California, by the 446th Airlift Wing on April 27, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Santarinala)

Litter Station Augmentation Set

A Litter Station Augmentation Set sits on the flight line at Travis Air Force Base, California, prior to being loaded on to a C-17 Globemaster III during Exercise Nexus Dawn on April 26, 2021. The LSAS is critical to successfully executing emergency missions if additional stanchions and litters are needed by Air Force Reserve aeromedical evacuation teams. Exercise Nexus Dawn presents realistic and challenging combat readiness scenarios in which Reserve Citizen Airmen are tested and evaluated at how well they can execute their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Santarinala)

446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron

Airmen of the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron perform in-air medical drills during Exercise Nexus Dawn at Travis Air Force Base, California, on April 27, 2021. Through exercises like Nexus Dawn, Reserve Citizen Airmen hone their readiness and effectiveness so they can support the nation with air power anytime, anywhere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brady Penn)

752nd Medical Squadron

1st Lt. Kelli Samples of the 752nd Medical Squadron takes part in an emergency medical scenario for Exercise Nexus Dawn at March Air Reserve Base in California on April 27, 2021. NEXUS DAWN is a readiness exercise designed to test the ability of certain Air Force Reserve units to generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated combat environment. Missions included in NEXUS DAWN include aeromedical evacuation, airlift for cargo and personnel, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control. Reserve Citizen Airmen from Travis, Beale, March, McChord, and McConnell Air Force Bases will participate in the exercise, as well as Air National Guardsmen from Fresno, Calif. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo by Staff Sergeant Ryan Green)

Airmen practice patient litter carry

Reserve Citizen Airmen practice patient litter carry during Exercise NEXUS DAWN at March Air Reserve Base, California, April 26, 2021. NEXUS DAWN is a readiness exercise designed to test the ability of certain Air Force Reserve units to generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated combat environment. Missions included in NEXUS DAWN are aeromedical evacuation, airlift for cargo and personnel, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicole Erb)

aircrew

Aircrew of the 79th Air Refueling Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, California, refuel a fellow KC-10 and four F-15C Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing in support of Exercise Nexus Dawn on April 27, 2021. The readiness exercise was designed to test the ability of multiple Air Force Reserve and California Air National Guard units to generate, employ and sustain air operations in a simulated combat environment. Missions included in the exercise are aeromedical evacuation, airlift for cargo and personnel, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control. Reserve Citizen Airmen from Travis, Beale, March, McChord, and McConnell Air Force Bases will participate in the exercise, as well as Air National Guardsmen from Fresno, Calif. (U.S. Air Force Reserve photo by Senior Airman Maygan Straight)

Airmen in C-17 cargo compartment

Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 446th Airlift Wing prepare for takeoff on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft April 25, 2021 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in support of exercise NEXUS DAWN. Air Force Reservists from Travis, Beale, March, McConnell Air Force Bases and JBLM will participate in the exercise as well as Air National Guardsmen from Fresno, California. NEXUS DAWN is a readiness exercise and an opportunity for multiple Air Force Reserve units to participate projecting airpower together so they are ready to fly, fight and win in combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Cozad Staley)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Reserve Citizen Airmen traveled to multiple military installations in California this week to take part in their units’ first major West Coast readiness exercise since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exercise Nexus Dawn, which took place April 26-28, 2021, was designed to safely test the ability of certain Air Force Reserve units to generate, employ, and sustain air operations in a simulated contested, degraded, and operationally limited environment.

Planning for the readiness exercise started in May 2019. Despite the onset of the pandemic, inspections teams from the 349th AMW at Travis Air Force Base, California, and the 446th Airlift wing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, pressed forward with their plans to create a robust test of units’ combat readiness, adopting precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along the way.

“COVID-19 evolved into planning factors not just for the players but for the planners,” said Lt. Col. Gerard Guevara, Director of Inspections for the 349th Air Mobility Wing Inspections Directorate. “Avoiding the spread of the virus also became an exercise objective. Attention was given to occupancy of vehicles for transportation, numbers of players in one area at a time, work center sanitation, and mask wearing at all times.”

During the exercise, Reserve Citizen Airmen were presented with a series of realistic and challenging missions, including aeromedical evacuation, airlift of cargo and personnel, aerial refueling, deployment processing, aerial port operations, and command and control.

Coordinating the exercise over the course of nearly two years, especially 2020, presented significant challenges for the primary planners who are stationed 720 miles apart. Ultimately, their commitment to a shared mission and vision, and their embrace of new technology and processes bridged the physical gap.

“Besides select site visits, planning was done remotely, which allowed opportunities to explore new communication platforms,” said Guevara. “This whole platform was built upon relationships and goodwill between wings, and within them.”

Reservists from Travis and Beale Air Force Bases, as well as March Air Reserve Base, all in California, took part in the exercise. They were joined by fellow Fourth Air Force units at Lewis-McChord, McConnell AFB, Kansas, and Dover AFB, Delaware. The California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno contributed Combat Air Forces to the scenarios, and active duty Marines from Camp Pendleton added a joint forces.

“This exercise highlighted that our Reserve Citizen Airmen need experiences like this to get better at their jobs, and to be able to provide airpower anytime, anywhere,” said Guevara. “And we owe that to them and the American public, despite limitations of this pandemic.”