Quick Draw: How many fighter jets can be launched in 24 hours?

144th Fighter Wing California National Guard mission drill

FRESNO, Calif. - If you were in Fresno Thursday you may have seen a squadron of fighter jets cutting a path in the sky. It was a part of the California Air National Guard's "Quick Draw" exercise and drill. 

The main mission was to test airmen of the 144th Fighter Wing to see their preparedness and readiness if the West Coast needs quick protection.

It was a scene similar to an action movie. Ground crews hustling and signaling so pilots can jockey their fighter jets into position for a high octane take off.

The main goal? To prepare as many of F15 Eagles for combat as possible within 24 hours.

Sixteen fighter jets taking off, engaging in mock combat off the coast of Monterey, then returning to base -- a 100% success rate for Fighter Wing Commander Reed Drake.

"We had an exercise where we had a combatant commander that called and requested our need. We are also ready for whenever our Governor calls. We always have a 24/7 alert commitment for anything that happens in North America. We have jets at the ready," he said.

A perfect scenario for pilots.

"We have a couple mission sets but one of the main is air superiority and getting F15 Eagles helps America have air superiority. We did a lot of tactical intercept training to get our guys familiar with the combat type environment but really this is a team approach," said Vice Wing Commander Dan Kelly.

"Rest assured and sleep easy at night that the 144th Fighter Wing is here to protect you," said Drake.


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