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Reps and sets: the Gamblers and Tigers train surge week

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  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 77th Fighter Squadron (FS) and Fighter Generation Squadron (FGS) “Gamblers” and the 79th FS and FGS “Tigers” were feeling the burn during their surge week training, Dec. 4 – 8, 2023.

Surge week is a chance for the FS and FGS units to exercise their tactical endurance, combining longer hours and increased amounts of maintenance. Airmen on the flightline shoot for new heights to facilitate getting the U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet back in the air in record time.

“Surge week is good from a maintenance standpoint as it gives us a chance to work at a faster pace of operations than we would usually,” said Capt. Matthew Stott, 77th FGS director of operations.  “On a normal day we would usually send two training flights, versus on a surge we’ll have four different flights throughout the day, giving us a chance to simulate a deployed environment.”

“Aircraft configurations may change depending on what the operations team wants, so we have to be prepared and ready to execute whatever is needed,” said Staff Sgt. Joemari Lamorena, 79th FGS weapons load crew chief.

Maintenance shifts are usually split into three blocks over 24 hours: day shift, “swings” the evening shift and “mids” the night shift. Surge week turns up the heat for the squadrons and gives them an opportunity to flex their air power muscles.

“Day shift is usually responsible for sending jets, swing shift handles unscheduled maintenance, and mids complete scheduled maintenance,” said Senior Airman Jordan Howe, 77th FGS avionics technician. “The 12-hour shifts we work now, allow us to complete a variety of tasks in one shift and also lets new Airmen adapt to longer hours.”

“It's an opportunity to challenge us, especially the younger and newer Airmen or those who haven't really deployed or surged. They get to experience a high tempo work environment to better themselves on their respective craft to meet mission requirements,” said Lamorena.

Shaw Airmen both new and old experience the high intensity training of surge weeks, conditioning enlisted and officers alike to ace endurance tests at home and downrange. Today’s U.S. Airmen have to remain fit-to-fight across the globe and uphold our air superiority.