Southern Strike Takes Over the Coast

The lives of our men and women in the armed forces are on the line every minute of the day. To help keep them alive, our armed forces are coming together to train them right here on the Coast. Southern Strike is a large training exercise in its fourth year that trains military men and women by land, sea, and air. News 25’s Bryan Kennedy went to the Gulfport Combat Training Readiness Center to see just what these men and women are up to.
Texas native Senior Airmen Shillen Goodlin prepares emergency medical supplies that will one day be used to save lives. While today’s mission is only a training exercise, he tells News 25 it will prepare him for the unknown. “It’s pertinent to us. We need to practice before we go out there and actually do our jobs. Our job is to bring the guys home. We gotta practice that or when you go out there you never know what’s going to happen.”
The point of Southern Strike is to stimulate real world events so the men and women of our armed forces will know how to react. Senior Airmen Goodlin joins 2,000 other soldiers from all branches who are taking off around our Coast to hone their skills this week. Skills that are sharpened by realistic training sessions. Southern Strike Commander Colonel Craig Ziemba said, “We have crises that mirror exactly what’s happening in the Middle East, in Africa and in all Eastern Europe. We’ve created that scenario here so that our forces train for those eventualities when they go into combat overseas.”
Scenarios this week will take soldiers everywhere from Camp Shelby to the Barrier Islands. And a large part of that will be happening in Gulfport. “Guys from all over the country and all over the world are coming to Gulfport CRTC to train in this joint combined international environment,” said Colonel Ziemba.
Major Sarah Nickloes with the Tennessee Air National Guard said, “The young pilots that are flying the air frame, they’re just getting used to it. They haven’t been to war yet but we’re getting them ready for this war and we’re getting them ready and we are making it very real world for them.”
Southern Strike officials tell News 25 that a typical day for some of these men and women can last 19 hours. The training exercises will continue through November 6th.

Categories: Local News, News

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