I wasn’t in Savannah last week, so I didn’t have a chance to monitor the Patriot South exercise that took place in Savannah until I got back to town on Friday. While I was in Brunswick, I did get a few snippets, but on the whole, I was out of range with the equipment I had. Patriot South is a disaster response/relief exercise that took place in various parts of the state, but its aviation assets consisting of cargo aircraft and helicopters from various Air National Guard and Army National Guard units worked out of the Savannah Air Dominance Center (ADC) at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. For a good look at what was going on, take a look at this WTOC news story.
While the news story indicates that the exercise ended on Thursday, there was still activity going on at the ADC on Friday. Throughout the day Friday, Air National Guard C-130s, C-17s, KC-135s and Army National Guard UH-60s came and went:
- DERBY 83 (C-130H, 91-1235, 123rd AW)
- DECOY 01 (C-17A, 01-0196, 167th AW)
- EPIC 31 (C-17A, 01-0183, 145th AW)
- POLO 78 (C-17A, 00-0177, 105th AW)
- KEYS 81 (KC-135R, 63-7992, 186th ARW)
- KEYS 82 (KC-135R, 59-1448, 186th ARW)
- GUARD 23959 (UH-60A, 84-23959, 2-149 AVN SC ARNG)
- WILDCAT 879 (UH-60L, 01-26879, 2-147th AVN KY ARNG)
In addition to the aircraft above, there were UH-72s involved in the activity out of the ADC, but they probably returned home before I got back home on Friday. On Friday afternoon, a C-17 from the 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, FROZEN 42 (C-17A, 93-0599, 3rd Wing) arrived at Savannah-Hilton Head IAP, but since it’s from a regular USAF unit instead of a Guard unit, I’m not sure if it was involved or not.
Almost all of what I heard was air traffic control communications from them on 119.100 with Savannah Tower and 120.400/125.300 with Savannah TRACON, but some of the aircraft were heard working an unknown entity on 293.300, one of the ADC frequencies (unfortunately, I was never able to hear the callsign of who they were calling and talking to).
From what I’ve seen, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the exercise activity. In addition to the aviation training, there was also a lot of ground based training in various locations around the Savannah area, such as a Point of Distribution drill with Chatham EMA and the City of Savannah. Maybe the next time Patriot South comes to Savannah, I’ll have more opportunities to monitor it.