Locally-Hosted Training Exercise Media Day

  • Published
  • 144th Fighter Wing

Fresno’s 144th Fighter Wing is holding a media day event Mar. 24, 2020 for the Valley Thunder training exercise. Valley Thunder is a two-week long military fighter jet training exercise being held at the Fresno Air National Guard Base, and it is hosted by the 144th FW’s 194th Fighter Squadron.


F-15 Eagles from the 144th FW and F-16 Vipers from 8th Fighter Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico will participate in the aircraft combat training missions March 17-27.

The media day events will begin at 12:00 p.m., end by 5:00 p.m., and include fighter jet take-offs, launch procedures, and interview opportunities. An F-15 and F-16 will be set up on static display, and the day will wrap up with an unclassified pilot debrief at 3:30 p.m.

From an ideal location to flying against different airframes, this training exercise will provide numerous advantages for all pilots involved. A war-fighting scenario will be featured during the exercise, delivering a unique competitive experience, requiring flexibility and adaptation.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Skylar Bautista, 194th FS pilot and Valley Thunder project officer, said, “The major difference in this exercise is that we are going to treat it as real-world operation where there are consequences to your actions.”

The scenarios of the war-fighting portion of the training exercise will include carry over effects from each of the day’s previous missions.

“This is a permanent consequences exercise with a finite number of missiles, pilots, jets, and other resources,” added Bautista. “So if we launch with four jets and one is defeated, we only have three jets to work with for the next launch.”

For media wishing to participate in the Media Day event, we will have you arrive at the West Gate off of McKinley Ave by noon. Capt. Jason Sanchez, Public Affairs Officer, will escort media onto the base and provide parking directions. Please contact the 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office at 559-454-5246 or via email at usaf.ca.144-fw.mbx.hq-public-affairs@mail.mil to attend this event.