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Global Lightning

Seventeen members of the 102nd Air Operations Group, from Otis Air National Guard Base, stand in front of the Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters on Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, while participating in Exercise Global Lightning '14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin)

Seventeen members of the 102nd Air Operations Group, from Otis Air National Guard Base, stand in front of the Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters on Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, while participating in Exercise Global Lightning '14. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin)

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- Twenty Massachusetts Air National Guardsmen from the 102nd Air Operations Group mobilized to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to support the 608th Air Operations Center during Exercise Global Lightning 14, May 12-16.

Global Lightning is an annual U.S. Strategic Command joint exercise for Department of Defense senior leaders to assess joint operational readiness and warfighting processes.  USSTRATCOM conducts GL14 to ensure the readiness of its strategic deterrence, space, and cyberspace defense and other assigned forces.

"This exercise provides unique training opportunities to incorporate the most current technology and techniques in support of our mission.  Continued focus and investment in our strategic capabilities allow USSTRATCOM to deter, dissuade, and defeat current and future threats to the U.S. and our allies," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, in a May 11 press release.

The Massachusetts Guardsmen, ranging in job specialization from command and control to intelligence, assisted the active duty members of the 608th AOC conducting 24/7 operations during the week-long exercise.

Col. Thomas Lennon, commander, 608th Air Operations Center said, "The support provided by the 102nd Air Operations Group is critical to ensure our ability to sustain 24-hour operations for an extended period of time.  Additionally, the personal and professional expertise provided by the 102nd is invaluable to the young group of Airmen I currently command in the 608th.  I am extremely appreciative of their unmatched professionalism and dedication to mission accomplishment, and tremendous commitment to the mission of the 608th and USSTRATCOM.  In addition to their expertise, they bring crucial continuity the active duty and this mission desperately need."

Participating in the annual exercise provided the men and women of the 102nd AOG with a prime opportunity to continue strengthening their partnership with the 608th AOC team while performing the skills they have been honing over the past six years since the unit's inception in 2008.

"We have supported five Global Lightning exercises since the beginning of the 102nd AOG and with each passing exercise the integration with our teammates at the 608th AOC improves. It is a privilege to assist the 608th AOC with their mission of planning, directing, and assessing daily operations employing global, kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities in order to deliver strategic effects for the USSTRATCOM commander," said Lt. Col. Lee Dewald, strategy plans chief, 102nd AOG.

Along with the more seasoned members of the 102nd AOG, GL14 provided an opportunity for the newest members of the unit to receive hands-on experience in their Air Force specialty.

"Global Lightning opened my eyes to the bigger Air Force picture.  Working alongside my active duty intelligence counterparts will go a long way in my development as an intelligence professional.  I look forward to providing continued support to USSTRATCOM and the 608th Air Operations Center," said Airman 1st Class Robert Burnett, intelligence analyst, 102nd AOG.