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113th Wing members deploy to Brazil

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- More than 100 members from the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard, recently deployed to Natal Air Base, Brazil in support of CRUZEX 2013, a Brazilian-led training exercise focused on interoperability between participating air forces from multiple countries. Combined with members from the 161st Aerial Refueling Wing, Arizona ANG, the U.S. Air Force contingent's goal for the two-week exercise is to practice working together with other countries' military forces to prepare for any future real-world situations, such as the evacuation of civilians during a natural disaster.

"This is a great opportunity for the Wing in general due to the training benefits," said Col. W. Mark Valentine, Commander of the deployed contingent, "you can pretend to be in a scenario while at home station but it is totally different when you are actually in theater. This exercise will better prepare us when we deploy to other areas of the world in the future."

The 113th Wing provided six unarmed F-16's for the exercise with no live rounds, ammunition, bombs, or missiles being transported to Brazil. The scenarios provided during the exercise are fictitious and do not represent any particular real-world events. The exercise is not an offensive operation as it is a training event to demonstrate basic fighter maneuvers, refueling, the maintenance of aircraft in a deployed location and the movement of personnel in an expeditious manner.

"The pilots and maintainers are just one piece of the puzzle, we have to work together as a cohesive unit to ensure an exercise of this magnitude is a success and that includes the logistics and medical group," said Colonel Valentine, "everything from the deployment line to working in theater, it takes a team effort and we really showed we had the capability to deploy to anywhere in the world thanks to the members of the 113th Wing."