The Mississippi Air National Guard is hosting a Southern Strike Exercise. Lt. Col. Billy Murphy has been a key player in preparing for the 2013 Southern Strike Exercise, which is hosted by the Mississippi Air National Guard. Murphy says, "There has been a lot of planning that has gone into this. We've been working for about eight months to get this together and this is our two weeks of execution." The exercise is a large scale war game set up, bringing 35 units from across the county and their aircraft to the Gulf Coast. The exercise takes training objectives and puts them into practice in an air to air and air to ground war. Craig Ziemba, an Exercise Director, says, "We took all of their requirements and we built a war game scenario that accomplishes all of those things in a realistic scenario." Directors of the exercise divided parts of the South into mock countries. The mission is to protect the ally country, Crimsonia, from surrounding countries aiming to take over their new found oil fields. Cpt. Greg Stammen says, "It's going to be a little bit different mission for us, making us adapt and stretch our tactical mission a bit and push our envelope, so it's going to be exciting.”
For this type of training, Mississippi makes a perfect practice field. Ziemba also says, "We don't want to be the best kept secret anymore. There's a lot Mississippi has to offer: air space, ground space, battle space, and the Mississippi Guard. Frankly, the Army and the Air Guard can facilitate all this training and we want units to see that." For the next two weeks, Billy Murphy and all units involved will work together and rely on each other to complete their mission, providing an opportunity for all branches involved to sharpen their skills. This is the second year of the Southern Strike Exercise. They plan to continue with the exercise each year, possibly going worldwide in the future.