Wing Level Exercise
Over the weekend of September 16-18, Illinois Wing held its bi-annual WLE or Wing Level Exercise. In this exercise the Wing is supervised and guided by the USAF for a review of our CAPabilities. In the alternating years, Illinois Wing has a similar exercise but we are actually graded by the USAF on our CAPabilities.
This year the WLE was held at Bloomington’s Central Regional Airport. Shorty Powers was well represented starting with the aircraft assigned to our squadron N99871 (CAP 1171) that was flown down to the mission by MP (Mission Pilot) Maj Baumgartner and MO (Mission Observer) Lt Orzech. Unfortunately weather didn’t cooperate at the start of the day and the plane and crew sat for several hours at Clow waiting for the weather to clear.
In addition to CAP 1171’s crew, Capt Danley participated as AOBD (Air Operations Branch Director), Lt Macdonald was the CUL (Communications Unit Leader), Lt Col Bartel was the CUL supervisor, Lt Hoosman was tasked as an MO, and our newest member, SM Punit, gained experience as an MSA (Mission Staff Assistance) and MRO (Mission Radio Operator).
In the middle of the afternoon, a popup Communications Exercise was thrown into the mix. Utilizing a “high bird” VHF radio repeater in an airplane circulating around 10,000 MSL, all available IL WG communicators were asked to check in via their VHF radios.
Unfortunately there was more than enough of “hurry up and wait” and not near enough actual experience but it’s good to know that when an actual incident occurs, members of Shorty Powers will be ready to roll into action.