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'Operation Tar Heel' prepares NC Air National Guard for war readiness inspection

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TWC News: 'Operation Tar Heel' prepares NC Air National Guard for war readiness inspection
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SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The North Carolina Air National Guard has been called to help with a possible threat overseas. Although this deployment is only a drill, the men and women must treat it as if it's the real thing. The practice will help them prepare for an inspection later this year, or even a real deployment.

Hundreds of NC Air National Guard are in Savannah, Ga. at the Combat Readiness Training Center practicing the same skills they use during war.

“Basically we come down here, build up a base, run an operation, tear it down and then move back home,” said Col. Roger Williams, the commander of the 145th Airlift Wing.

“Operation Tar Heel” will prepare the air guard for an inspection coming up later this fall.

“This is the biggest inspection we do in the Air Force. It shows we're ready to mobilize and deploy some place overseas and perform our wartime tasks,” said Col. Thomas Brown the exercise chief of the 145th Airlift Wing.

The guardsmen don't know exactly what's coming but they know the drills are serious and every step they take or decision they make has a consequence.

“Some of the folks here have done this in the past and we've got some people who are new," said Williams. "We're getting them the experience and visibility of what's expected of them.”

The Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah is one of four in the country.

“The whole point of the exercise is we're monitoring ourselves," said Staff Sgt. William Hickinbotham. "We're getting ready for the actual inspection. These are set up to get those speed bumps out of the way.”

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