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Ready Norseman

Ready Norseman is conducted at the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), Volk Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB). The exercise conducts Composite Force Training (CFT) which involves three or more units of dissimilar aircraft to train to enhance combat flying skills in a hostile environment.

In the 1970's, Volk Field ANGB was being used year-round for training military units representing all branches of service from throughout the free world. To meet the needs of its users, the CRTC began to play a more active role in providing an operational environment conducive to realistic combat tactics training. In cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the Wisconsin Army National Guard, a concept was tested in the joint exercises, Badger I, in 1980, and Badger II, in 1981. Building on the lessons learned in those exercises and with support from the National Guard Bureau (NGB), the Sentry Independence series of CFT exercises began 20 June 1983.

Sentry Independence (SI) was a large scale exercise of over a thousand personnel and 72 aircraft, that maximized the support facilities of the host, Volk Field. The SI exercise was unique in that it was the only NGB-sponsored CFT. The overall goal was to improve aircrew combat readiness. Exercise participants included members of the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Active Duty forces from throughout the United States and Europe. Flying units included fighters, air refueling, tactical airlift, reconnaissance, airborne warning control systems, and medevac. Tactical Air Control units provided radar control support for air refueling operations, forward air control posts, and ground control approach for the airfield.

In 1992, the ANG decided to reduce the Sentry Independence exercise for economical reasons. The Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) initiated the Ready Exercises in early 1993. Four Ready Exercises are planned annually for each ANG CRTC (Alpena, MI - Ready Wolverine; Gulfport, MS - Ready Rebel; Savannah, GA - Ready Olympiad; and Volk Field, WI - Ready Norseman).

The ANGRC Director of Operations (DO) has the overall Ready Exercise prime responsibility and appoints an exercise commander to act as his personal representative to monitor and provide operational command and control for the exercise. ANG units have participation priority. Non-ANG units may participate with approval of the ANGRC/DO. A complete exercise (deployment, employment and re-deployment) lasts seven days.

Ready Norseman Exercises fly an average of 40 to 50 missions daily, consisting of airlift, air refueling, fighter and reconnaissance operations.

Overflight areas in central Wisconsin include the Falls 1 & 2 Military Operations Areas (MOA), bounded roughly by the towns of Sparta, Independence, Strum, Cadot, Greenwood, Stratford and Bethel; the Volk West MOA from Vesper to Nekoosa to a point off Petenwell Lake to Warrens and Fort McCoy; the Volk East MOA from Petenwell Lake to Wisconsin Dells to Friesland to Waupaca and west to Vesper.

The Falls MOAs are active from 500 feet above ground level (AGL) to 17,999 feet above mean sea level (MSL). The Volk West MOA from 100 feet AGL to 23,000 MSL, the Volk South MOA from 500 AGL to 28,000 MSL and the Volk East MOA from 8,000 to 28,000 MSL. In addition to these, the airspace between Volk East and Lake Michigan is used for air refueling training between 18,000 to 29,000 ft. MSL.

The CRTC has an aggressive safety program through military and general aviation training, education and cooperation. The CRTC initiated a number of efforts wherein general aviation pilots are informed of military flying activities. Prior to major exercises, press releases are provided to local news media. Additionally, in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration's offices and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, flyers are sent to area licensed private pilots informing them of the exercise and the airspace in use. Alternating biennium open houses at the CRTC and Hardwood Range provide a forum for first hand knowledge on the air operations and an opportunity to exchange questions and answers on the flying mission. Additionally, the CRTC open house hosts a Fly-In for general aviation pilots and in conjunction with FAA and WI DOT provides aeronautical training and information to interested aviation enthusiasts.

To further provide air safety, the ACMI, military radar units, Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft, control and monitor all flights in the MOA's. The controller personnel are augmented for the exercise by qualified controllers from other units, both active and reserve forces, through the Sentre Vigilance program. The aircraft are controlled from departure takeoff throughout the training and until departing the operating areas. These units are linked to the exercise direction headquarters at Volk Field. Further, a MOA information service on frequency 120.45 provides pilots the current status of special use airspace on a real time basis.

Stringent noise abatement procedures are in effect during Ready Norseman. Exercise plans, instructions and briefings all contain identification of local noise sensitive areas. Participating aircrews are instructed to avoid these locations. For example, in the Falls MOA, overflight of Neillsville, WI, or Black River Falls, WI, is prohibited below a minimum of 2500 ft. AGL. If anyone has a problem with aircraft noise, it has been publicized that they should contact the Volk Field Public Affairs office at 608-427-1260. A complete noise complaint/damage claim procedure is established using Air Force and ANG guidelines and the Exercise Public Affairs office will assist anyone with a problem related to the exercise.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:34:38 Zulu